Tall Ships at XOYO, Monday 22nd October
Tonight is a special night for a special band: Tall Ships, after years in the making, finally present to us their debut Everything Touch live in its entirety.
Opening the set with T=0, circles and sways of explosive bass are scuzzy with fury and force as vocalist Ric Phethean’s tones are tender amongst the stampeding scope.
The set is solid ? agleam with bass, drums and hectic guitar parts; here we have a three piece who create a phenomenal amount of noise. Former single Gallop, shudders in undertows of rhythm and pace, amidst lyrical wisdom, illuminating once again that these are a bunch of tracks mastered by their creators with absolute passion and exactness as much live as they are on the record.
One thing I love most about this band is their absolute sincerity: every time I’ve seen these guys play live they take a step back and look genuinely shocked, not only to see a crowd standing in front of them, but an adoring, altered crowd who know every word.
Older material from previous EPs shined arguably as crowd favourites; the softer vocal tones and looping eruptions of Chemistry evoked as did Vessels, which from the first note is devastatingly beautiful, gradually building into a melodic chaos and harmonious final sing along: words of fleeting feelings sinking and new beginnings, the nobility and oceanic optimism within the song is dense; words of love and release.
There is a real openness within the lyrics; as much as sonically the tracks stun, there is wilderness and containment in the words, demonstrated in tracks like Phosphorescence’s charm ‘cold and bathed in light everything fell in to place, and together we got lost, lost in something bigger than us’ and Ode To Ancestors, which are amplified irreducibly and become alive by the way the album is played instrumentally, each being brought right up to their highest dizzy heights in sound.
The magic of transportation through music is a powerful force and closing number Murmurations wraps up both the record and the show perfectly. Built as a nine minute sonic, the track truly is a piece of art which makes transcending the sensuality and travel of the song through words almost impossible. Completely mesmerising, intense palpitations begin, slowly manifesting and towering.
I’ve always thought to describe Tall Ships as architects in building beautiful walls of sound and this is what they showed every single person tonight: if you strike hard enough you can make music that is so incredibly powerful and, leaving with an encore of Hit The Floor and chants of ‘We all just hit the floor and celebrate our loneliness together,’ they proved just that.
Words: Lauren Bridgeman