It is half past eight. Doors have been open for over an hour and a half and there has been little sign of activity on the stage. But that's all about to change. On walk 'And So I Watch You From Afar', a four-piece post-rock outfit from Belfast. They launch into an aggressive forty five minute set without saying a word, the energy of their music mirrored perfectly by the stage presence of the band; both guitarists leap around the stage frantically as they launch into tracks such as 'Set Guitars To Kill' and 'If It Don't Break...Break it'. For an instrumental band, Tony Wright makes a charismatic and witty front man, indulging in more conversation with the crowd as the show progresses; "On the poster outside it says we're called 'As I Watched From Afar'; they're our tribute band". After some technical troubles with guitars during fan favourite 'I Capture Castles', the band make a swift recovery before their last song of the evening, 'Eat the City, Eat it Whole'.
A half an hour break ensued, before the main act emerge. 'This Will Destroy You' come on stage to a more elaborate set up than the support, providing keyboards and pedal boards that would (almost) put Johnny Greenwood to shame. The band seem a lot shier than 'And So I Watch...', with their sound also to suit; their music more ambient and mellow, but they also show a certain maturity the Irish post-rockers lacked. Their set is dreamy, with songs merging into one after opener 'A Three-Legged Workhorse'. After a short set (a mere thirty five minutes) they re-appear for a lengthy encore, which showcases the sheer breadth of the band, finishing with a breathtaking performance of 'There Are Some Remedies Worse Than The Disease'. With the sound being cut with them still on stage, a silence drifts over the audience for a second or two, with every member of the crowd silent and stunned, before the band wave their goodbyes and departing to the audience's applauds, which seem all the more subdued for the sheer volume and hectic nature of the band's finale, which still rings in my ears.
Download: This Will Destroy You - Quiet [RS]
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