I just got back from a double headlining album launch featuring Mountains in the Sky and Qua. Whoa. Seriously mind-boggling – most of it anyway.
The event was unusual in that the “double headlining” term was taken more literally than usual and actually featured both acts sharing the same set, taking turns to present material from their new albums and occasionally sharing the stage in free-for-all jams. The format worked really well I thought, although it tended to give a rather ramshackle, unpredictable edge to the proceedings. Sometimes it worked to stellar degrees, other times it came within millimetres of falling to pieces.
Apologies about the page full of photos. I hate having to scroll through pages of pics like this, but unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to incorporate anything more sophisticated for viewing photo collections on this blog.
I don’t have any pretensions of being a great photographer – the shots are pretty mediocre in my opinion, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.
The evening was kicked off by Ohana, who I’d been eagerly looking forward to see since hearing rave reviews from Jonny at Polaroids of Androids. The band kind of sounds like a combination of noise rock and math rock – perhaps if A Place To Bury Strangers and Battles got together and had a baby – or perhaps not. Regardless, I thought they were fantastic.
The proceedings continued with a bizarre introduction to the set by this gentleman, who got the crowd into the spirit of things with a speed-rap medley. He later returned with an Eddie Vedder impersonation.
Enter Qua (aka Cornel Wilczek), who invites you into his mysterious domain:
His ambient stuff that opened the set was insanely good (“All Breath, No Body” off the new album) … a very cool opener for the set. I’ve heard that Silver Red is more along the lines of this, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it.
Really enjoyed Qua’s set – his use of various touch-based controllers added a nice touch (haha geddit?) to his set, and the tunes came across really nicely. A particular highlight was “Lapsang Souchong” off the new album (Q&A) which nearly blow the roof off the Oxford.
Mountains in the Sky (aka John Lee) was also brilliant, with really solid material and a great live feel. I’m really looking forward to hearing his new album Electron Suite, which is now sitting on my desk and awaiting consumption.
Despite the excellence of most of the performance, unfortunately the set kind of crashed and burned disappointingly towards the end. Whether caused by alcohol or exhaustion, the last three tunes didn’t really things on a high note. John and Cornel both limped through their final solo tunes, and the combined closer that saw half the audience join the band on stage didn’t quite match some of the set’s earlier peaks., though it was certainly memorable in the mayhem that ensued.
Not to matter – both artists offered an excellent showcase of their material, and brought a great party atmosphere with them.