Spectres @ The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington.

April 20 2016, London.

Bristol band Spectres’ debut LP ‘Dying’ made it through 2015 as my album of the year. There was some great music released last year, but Dying got played a lot and gets played a lot in 2016 as well. A follow-up LP is due sometime this year, and both times I have seen the band they have played new material that may or may not appear on this new LP. I will have to wait and see.

While I, and others, wait for this new album Spectres recently released a remix album of Dying called ‘Dead’. There are remixes by a couple of artists I really like, such as Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai fame, Richard Fearless and Andy Bell from Ride. The vinyl copy arrived on the day we went to New Zealand, but I did get the download code and listened to the LP a few times while I was away. It is OK, not fabulous, there are some great remixes and some that do nothing for me at all. I do like guitar noise far more than synths and computers.

When the band announced two shows at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington I was definitely not going to miss out so grabbed a ticket before we went away.

I wasn’t overly keen on either support band, and being incredibly fussy I arrived at the venue at what should have been half way through the set of the second support. They hadn’t even started. I watched a bit of their set before retiring to the pub upstairs for a quiet drink and a seat. If I had arrived earlier and managed to have been closer to the stage with a better view I may have stayed as they looked like they could have been a bit of fun.

I went back down to the basement venue once the support audience had cleared and got my self a spot near the stage. I was hoping to get a few decent photos so took along the Canon 5d. I should have known from the last time I saw them that they would pretty much play in the dark. Sadly my old 5d does not do really low light – unlike the newer models, though I think even those would have struggled tonight.

I grabbed this one of the bass player during the sound check. The last time there was any light even closely usable for non-flash photography.

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What did make some photography possible was the use of strobes from half way through the set, though they were poorly placed on the ceiling rather than down low, I managed to time a few shots right and got some images lit up by strobes.

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Even though there is not much detail, and the guitarist is blurred, I like this photo the best.

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The set was loud, I mean really loud, I have been to loads of shows over the years, but this was definitely one of the loudest I have been too. I am glad I took ear plugs. I usually take them but rarely use them, for tonight’s gig, they were essential.

IMG_9841-EditThe last time I saw them the set was just played on guitar, bass and drums. With the new remix LP they mixed it up a bit playing some tracks with a bit of electronica, it worked on some and not on others. It was still interesting. A fifth member came on stage for one of the tracks,

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As they came on stage so late I did not get to see the end of the set. Disappointingly I had to leave to get the train home, so missed what was probably a good finale!

It was a good, and too short a show and I liked the venue as well.

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Spectres gig @ Power Lunches.

Wednesday 18 November 2015 – Spectres Gig @ Power Lunches, Dalston, London.

Bristol four piece Spectres, are definitely the band I have listened to most in the last year, especially since their debut LP ‘Dying’ arrived on my doorstep in February. Their music is pretty uncompromising, it is dense, it is dark and it is noisy, but if you dig deep enough you will find some lightness and pop touches – you would need a long handled spade though! To me they sound like the bastard off spring of two great bands – A place to bury strangers and early Swervedriver – with a little bit of Sonic Youth thrown in.

Spectres – Rattle the cage

As well as liking their music I like their attitude to the music business as well. In protest of the corporate take-over of Record Store Day, along with a great article from their record label, Sonic Cathedral, instead of releasing a new single on the day they are releasing one copy of that single a day, every day, for a year. It took me a long time to land a copy of the split single with Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, with each band covering the other. Spectres played ‘Stealed Scene’.

In a very amusing piece of publicity they also released their last single ‘Spectre’ the same day as the abomination from Sam Smith that is the theme song to the new James Bond movie, Spectre. Somehow, ‘by accident’ a version of this ended up on YouTube under Sam Smith’s name and their version was reviewed by numerous leading newspapers, as well as by numerous, bemused and unhappy Sam Smith fans on Youtube. Coup !! It is not a typical Spectres song though…

Though they are currently touring the UK I was not expecting them to be playing London any time soon, however, I discovered yesterday that they are playing tonight as support to ‘The Naturals’ under the pseudonym of ‘Buckfast Crimewave’. Though I have a bit of head cold I could not miss the opportunity so decided to go along.

The gig was at Power Lunches, a small bar in Dalston, not too far from home fortunately, given I was not feeling 100%. I liked Power Lunches, it was small, a bit dingy and dark, but they were playing what sounded like some really old school US punk rock on the PA, and sitting in the bar waiting for the first band to come on was quite enjoyable.

The bands play in a small basement, it was very dark, photography was going to suck… I didn’t stay for the opening act, not really my thing. As the music was so good up in the bar I went back there and waited for Spectres to go on.

Earlier today Rough Trade Records announced their top 100 albums of the year, it did not have Spectres on it. The band announced via Twitter that as no-one liked their old songs, they would only play new material at the show. Which they mostly did. The light was complete rubbish, there was someone shooting with a flash which I should have done, but didn’t. Next time I see them I will take a flash with me.

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From memory they played four new songs, with the last one definitely pushing a Sonic Youth vibe and was my favourite of the new tracks.

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This was not a tune up… This was using tuning as a sound effect !

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They played two old songs, I think Sink and Where Time Sleeps… It was a short but gloriously noisy set and I am looking forward to seeing them again, but as the headliner. I was very tempted to go and see them in Manchester on the following night as I have Fridays off of work, but it was too expensive to get there and working less days means getting paid less money!

A line from the song ‘In a box’ from their earlier Hunger EP seems an apt description about how I feel on occasion. “I want to catch a train to any where, I want to go on my own, come back on my own’.

I watched a couple of songs of the headliner “The Naturals’ but like the opening act, musically they were not my thing. If I was feeling better I would have stayed and watched their whole set, but I felt rubbish so I didn’t. Sorry The Naturals.