Friday, 23rd July 2010
The Hare and Hounds, New Mills, UK
Article & Photographs by John O'Boyle
Tonight was always going to be good as Andy and the gang never fail to deliver their vision of prog and having seen them in various venues with differing personnel over the years, this version of the band has really come of age. The show was a warm up for the band, which will be travelling to Italy, where they will be headlining The Gong Festival.
Over the years Andy has worked with varying prog alumni producing a very high standard of complex and intricate music. For me though, this line up of The Tangent is by far more cohesive than any of the previous incarnations of the band. At this moment in time The Tangent is Britainís leading prog band, make no mistake of that, but for some reason they seem to be also Britainís best kept prog secret? The Tangent exemplifies what prog is, and should be all about, live and in the studio.
The show started with In Darkest Dreams, one of three epic tracks the band played through the evening, which is where Andy is allowed to really work his magic building his soundscapes, where you almost got the feeling at any second, things could have broken into chaos. The interaction between all the band members was very powerful and fast paced, with them making it look so easy. Michael Gilbourneís drumming for me was absolutely outstanding with some very powerful guitar and keyboard exchanges, having Jonathon Barrettís bass anchoring the harmonic framework and laying down the beat, taking it all in his own cool inimitable way. Paroxetine is the first of three tracks played from their latest album Down and Out in Paris and London, which is a far less immediate song than anything else played in the shows set, but still featuring some stunning interaction. The last song from the first set came from the album A Place in the Queue, GPS Culture which ran into the title track The Music That Died Alone, being the second epic track played, with its meter and timbre allowing the song to really express itself, building and swooping as Andy became very dynamic throughout with his excellent keyboard parts. The song was a culmination of differing styles and sounds with its musical notation and language being perfect in approach. You could see on the bands faces that this was a song they love to play, none more so than Andy. This song closed the first half of the set allowing all to digest what they had just witnessed and re charge their glasses.
The second set was kick started by Where Are They Now, which had Jonathonís deep bass running through the song, being fully supported by Michaelís time perfect drumming. Andyís vocal and keyboard preludes just made this a classic Tangent track. The warm and rich keyboard sounds twisting and turning as Luke stamped his authority all over the guitar parts. Luke rose to the challenge, far exceeding all expectations. A very soulful Perdu Dans Paris followed, with its emotional, passionate and melodic passages leaving the audience mesmerized with its musical and vocal imagery that had just been created. The band brought the evening to a closure with the epic In Earnest from the stunning A Place in the Queue album, which was the piece de resistance, featuring some really nice jazzy interactions, allowing Andyís keyboard work to be the real star of the song. The song just built, as it travelled its distance, with some rather excellent and clever word play throughout. It was a very interesting choice of song and very poignant in todayís society. The audience was quite stunned after having just experienced prog nirvana. Andy had stated that this piece hadnít been played for quite some time. In total this track really sums up what The Tangent are all about, noble, intelligent and classy?
Throughout the night all four guys enjoyed playing to an intimate audience, who listened and watch with intent hanging on every note played and word sung and spoken. Between them the band has youthfulness, experience but more importantly an abundance of talent.
Luke Machin just goes from strength to strength with his guitar technique, one minute offering little jazz sounding runs, next heís finger tapping with confidence and style. Just watching him operate, he exuded confidence and style, feeling every note that he plays.
The band worked as a tight unit, like a well oiled machine even in the tight constraints of a small stage, which didnít faze any of the guys, adding to the whole experience.
The Tangent yet again entertained their audience, displaying their musical prowess, proving that they are a band of very talented individuals, without a shadow of doubt, and as I said are highly under rated. You dream of bands that can produce high quality recordings / albums / live shows repeatedly. This is what The Tangent achieves. The audience was left buzzing, discussing how this band isnít bigger than they are. This has got to change?
THE TANGENT IS A MUST SEE BAND ...
1) In Darkest Dreams
3) GPS Culture
4) Where Are They Now
5) Perdu Dan Paris
6) In Earnest
The Tangent - Official Website