Thursday night was a hot one. Sold out in advance. A scrum for the few remaining tickets on the door. Bloc Party and their mates hanging around outside. Inside we couldn't get anywhere near the stage. However, the biggest clamour didn’t seem to be so much for the ostensible headliners Fields, but for Leeds band iLiKETRAiNS (that typography is going to annoy a lot of people in the future).
iLiKETRAiNS are the perfect band to play at Sonic Cathedral, the shoegazing-revivalist club night at the Legion on Old Street. They wear old-fashioned British Rail jackets (which they have to remove fairly quickly because of the heat). If Interpol had formed in south east England in 1991 they might have sounded like this. We had waves of guitar noise washing over us as we strained to hear David Martin’s muted vocals. But it's not just shoegazing. Fans of Sigur Ros and maybe even TV on the Radio should find something to appreciate here. Their set was the perfect taster for me to explore their dark and moody charms further.
Not only do they wear rail attire, they also write songs about railways. Take for instance The Beeching Report, which refers to a government report which led to infamous cutbacks in the British rail network in the 1960s where a lot of rural areas lost their stations and trains. Not many songs about that kind of thing in rock ‘n’ roll then, but a fine song all the same.
Download: iLiKETRAiNS – The Beeching Report
But iLiKETRAiNS are a bonus. We’re really here for Fields. If the crowd’s a little less thick for them, there’s still plenty of enthusiasm. Since Matt gave me the heads up a while back, I've searched them out and liked what I found. Despite a whole heap of downloads being available, and mainly sounding good, the best place to encounter them is live. Despite what I said earlier, there’s not so much of the old shoegazing here. Less effects pedals, more acoustic guitar for singer Nick Peill anyway. They’re basically just good old-fashioned noisy indie guitar pop, with lovely melodies and girl-boy vocal harmonies. Songs for the Fields was a rousing opener, Brittle Sticks sounded even more fantastic live.
It sounds like Fields are recording an album. Peill expressed relief about being able to play live after being holed up in some basement in Dublin. Is this where they are (according to Wikipedia) recording their debut album “with legendary producer Michael Beinhorn”? Anyway, here’s hoping that the don’t ‘do a Magic Numbers’ and end up releasing an album that sounds a bit flat after a series of brilliant gigs. They’re a fine live band, and their set tonight only confirms that. Being a club night, there was no encore, but their short set tantalised and left us wanting to hear more. So here’s to next time then…
Download: Fields – Song for the Fields
Download: Fields – Heretic
Download: Fields – If You Fail, We All Fail
Check out my gig photos at my Flickr site.
More free Fields downloads here.