Newcastle University was tonight the venue for Sheffield instrumental electro-rock quartet 65 Days Of Static’s penultimate date on an extensive European tour in promotion of their latest album release and soundtrack for the ‘No Mans Sky’ video game.
With an audience trickling into the venue, the Bristol band Thought Forms, whom are promoting their ‘Songs About Drowning’ album, opened the show having played every date with 65 Days Of Static on this European tour. Sustained and reverberated heavy guitars welcome the audience who are drawn into the stoner rock groove. Haunting vocals are provided mainly via Charlie who lets her atmospheric tones carry above the dirge of instrumentation beneath. Dynamic contrasts are built around repeating drone riffs, which are occasionally broken up by sporadic rhythmic twists and pleasing tempo shifts. For the bands final tune, Charlie performs on a recorder / pipe / oboe-esq instrument, snake-charming a melody over a looped drone with some interesting tom-ladened drum pattern. A very interesting way to finish the set, to a room which was now compact full of people awaiting the main event.
After a fun interlude of random noises, instrument sound checks and cheesy nineties-dance glitch remixes; 65 Days Of Static walk onto the stage to a loud cheer and applause from the adorning crowd.
The band whom have been touring for fourteen years, strike up immediately their signature dark synth and computerized glitches, with sustained guitars growing and morphing the tune into some new ago techno-dance experience. The electronic post-rock bands current line-up of Joe Shrewsbury, Paul Wolinski, Simon Wright and Rob Jones are all seasoned professionals in merging together / creating these surreal audible soundscapes, flowing from track to track seamlessly.
Those who are familiar with the new action-adventure survival video game ‘No Mans Sky’ (from which the bands new album soundtrack derives), will be familiar with the games famed inability for it never to be completed via the user due to eighteen quintrillion worlds to explore. In a similar vane, it is near impossible to review such a show or band as 65 Days Of Static due to the pure aesthetic of layering brilliant ideas and beautiful soundscapes; whether ambient, hard rock, electronic-glitch, dance or just about every other genre in-between.
Dynamically perfect, 65 Days Of Static take the audience, engrossed and locked into the bands creativeness, on a journey. Parts of the show audibly transport the crowd inside of a Tron-esq computer game and within the same breath can batter heads with a pure brilliant post-rock wall of sound, boggling the mind into thinking how four musicians can create such a beautiful-unearthly sound live on stage.
The light show is sufficient in ambience but is nothing special or anything out of the ordinary. However, in no way did this detract from the show due to the brilliance of the musicianship and energy on stage. For audiophile and tech-gear fans, beard stroking vigorously ensued (myself included) with a stage fully ladened with midi and analog heaven, which were demonstrated perfectly via the band. Drum triggers, samples and plenty of tasteful sub-bass made full use of the Newcastle Universities hefty PA system, with some sounds making you feel physically sick – which was awesome.
After every song Joe quaintly thanked the audience for their kind applause, which came across quite humorous at times. He later reminisced about the previous time he performed in Newcastle a number of years ago, when somebody tried to wrap a pool cue around his head and then he took an amp to be fixed to a house with a talking bird, which told him to F off, “… so today has been a much better day so far” he joked to the crowds laughter.
Anthemic, epic, rhythmic and dynamic; 65 Days Of Static are a band which need to be embraced live and I would sincerely urge anyone to travel and spend money to experience this.
Gig photographer – David Smith
Business Development for Shapeshifter Films: a video director collective producing music videos for numerous major (and local) artists and businesses.
Brass band trombonist and an alternative folk rock band guitarist.
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