odd selection of bands, this. Three rock outfits topped off by gothic
traditionalists. It's a bit like putting gravy on an apple crumble.
take the stage, and I can answer my question in three words: No, they're
not. Wake, in fact, are a kind of middle-of-the-road emo outfit, sufficiently
mainstream in overall sound to be contenders for classic rock radio playlists,
but with a singer who's clearly been necking the angst pills. Scrunching
up his face as if someone's just tipped a bucket of woe over his head,
he keens and wails in a soaring tenor, elongating every vowel sound to
an unfeasible extent. It's as if someone once told him that he's a Really
Good Singer, and now he has to over-emote every line of lyric just to
Fury (hey, d'you see what they did there?) have obviously been
listening to plenty of American rifferama metal. They're heavy of guitar
and choppy of rhythm - there's a guitarist on stage quite shamelessly
touting a Flying V, which shows an admirable sense of purpose, even if
his comedy shorts show a frightful lack of style.
proceedings are wrenched in a somewhat more contemporary direction now,
as the trip-rock stylings of Moth Complex
shudder and grind from the Underworld's long-suffering PA. Trip rock?
Yep - it's like trip-hop, but it's got...well, balls.
The resulting sonic barrage is given focus by the singer, who delivers a precise, controlled, vocal as she stomps around with a slightly nervous assertiveness. And yes, 'nervous assertiveness' isn't just me trying to be oxymoronic (hey, Tranquil Fury, I can do it, too!). There really does seem to be a touch of nerves about her performance. The way she frequently clasps the microphone, two-handed, in front of her face, as if trying to hide behind the hardware, is a bit of a giveaway. This sets up a slight air of tension which I'm not entirely sure is intentional, but in a way it all fits with the churn and stomp of the music. Churn and stomp? I think I'll have some of that.
It's been three years since Adoration played their first gig. Three years in which not much has happened, aside from the original line-up being substantially replaced by a bunch of new musicians, some of whom, apparently, have something to do with the Nephilim, and/or related bands.
in itself isn't much of a big deal, mind. These days, it seems like half
the bands on the UK goth scene have one or more of McCoy's old sidemen
lurking in the shadows.
If I recall the original Adoration from three years ago, the band was then a robustly no-nonsense gothic rock juggernaut, all hammering riffs and hollering vocals. Well, Adoration are still firmly based in the gothic rock zone. They haven't gone space-techno or anything during their Quiet Time. But now, with a six-piece line-up (which includes three - count 'em, three - guitarists), the hammering riffs have given way to a meticulous pirouette through the lands of filigree and shadow.
Everything is precise, everything is arranged with punctilious detail. The three guitar parts interact with tip-toed precision, as the music builds to a structure so detailed and yet so monolithic it's as if the band had decided to replicate Chartres Cathederal in sound. The vocals are restrained, downbeat: in fact, most of the band apprear restrained and downbeat, gazing at their fretboards as if communing with their muses. It's only on the final song, 'Overground', that the pace really picks up, and Adoration's gothic rock juggernaught accelerates to more than a steady 30mph.
I suspect that Adoration's introspective air and attention to muso-detail is exactly what a large chunk of today's goth scene wants. As the scene crowd ages, and the younger, more punky types look elsewhere for their darkly-tinged excitement, Adoration could find themselves acclaimed and lauded by the more mature denizens of the dark side.
The goth scene's drift into meticulous maturity might be a slightly paradoxical situation - after all, it was the punky types who, in the early 80s, invented goth. And, personally, speaking as an older punky type, I don't think I'm ready for Adult Oriented Goth myself. But I'm sure there are plenty of people who have been waiting for a band just like Adoration to come along. The audience is out there, if they want it.
Maybe that three-year hiatus was a blessing in disguise. Now, Adoration might just be able to hit the right place/right time nexus on the nose.
For more photos from this gig, find Adoration by name here.