Last night was an interesting gig. The first of the long list of upcoming gigs I am intending on attending, and it was a cracking way to start.
prot0type were up first, and as on the other occasions I have seen this incarnation of Nick’s musical output, it is harsh, confrontational and pretty powerful. In some respects elements of other bands do come through (particularly Hocico and Suicide Commando, in the synth lines at least), but a clear style of their own is beginning to appear as they develop and closing track Reject certainly stands head and shoulders above the rest.
I’ve seen Deviant UK numerous times before, and while they are now a solid proposition live, they still don’t grab me all that much. Their best track remains the first one I heard – Access Denied – and while the remainder is very polished indeed, not that much of it seems to have the hooks that they should. Their cover of Project Pitchfork‘s Timekiller I’m getting a little tired of now, too.
So onto the main event. The last time I saw Seabound was their appearance at Infest in 2003, where they were not very good at all. Which was a shame, as first album No Sleep Demon was (and is) a cracking album, and pointed to great things. Despite two more brilliant albums, they don’t appear to be such a big draw (although the venue was busy, it was only the small room of Corp and didn’t sell out). One complaint I hear about the band from some is that there are too many slow songs – i.e. not dancefloor-orientated.
Not that you’d know it from this gig, where it appears the band nowadays go for a more direct approach. This started well with a quite astonishing Scorch The Ground (really, a contender for Seabound’s best track and indeed one of the best tracks in the electropop genre), before keeping up the pace with the perhaps-a-little-dated-now Exorcise and the anthemic Poisonous Friend.
Possibly the best track played was perhaps unexpectedly an old B-side: Avalost. An aching, sweeping ballad with an impossibly pretty chorus, the well-balanced sound helped to let everything shine, and showing off how intricately constructed many of the band’s songs are. After that, Contact upped the pace (and works better live than on record, oddly), while Domination sounds just as curious live as in other forms. Perhaps it is the strained shout during the chorus that does it – much of Seabound’s power comes from the restraint and control of emotions, so when there is a release, as here, it seems a little out of place.
The Promise was another strong-sounding track, and it simply beggars belief that this never became a dancefloor hit – the club remix was certainly good enough. The end of a short set was heralded by Hooked, the one truly breakthrough hit that the band had. In a much-revised version here, it was still well-recieved and indeed the chorus got a huge singalong…
There was of course an encore: and a little bit of a surprising choice of songs, too. Watching Over You – only the second ballad played – was a pleasant surprise, even if being played live brings out it’s feeling of creepy jealousy even more, while Traitor‘s stabbing fury made for a powerful finale. And after ten songs, and about an hour, that was it. A shame: after all, there was certainly time for a couple more songs. There were some surprising omissions from the set (for me Transformer in particular), but then with such a strong back catalogue there were always going to be things missing – and as a whole it was a strong performance indeed.
No hint of future plans (and indeed the website currently just suggests this short run of dates are the last for the forseeable future), but here’s hoping a fourth album does eventually arrive. This band are too good to just disappear and perhaps next time there may be more people there to appreciate one of the most accomplished electro bands of the time.