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Live Reviews : sleepmakeswaves and Meniscus, alivereview.

By on October 6, 2011

sleepmakeswaves have been going strong since 2006 and yet, for some reason, they only released their first full-length album in July this year. Their album,  …And So We Destroyed Everything has been fairly well received across the internet, being hailed as an impressive full-length debut.  Their follow up “…And So We Destroyed Everything” (ASWDE) tour has been rather scattered around the calendar with a few shows in July and several spread out through September. For the second last show of the ASWDE tour they stopped in Canberra to play with Mornings, Meniscus, Pirate and Looking Glass at the ANU Bar for a night of musical mayhem.

Starting off the night was Canberra’s own stoner metal warriors Looking Glass. They tore through riff after riff, with the bass player nailing down some relentless groove and impressive basslines. While Looking Glass are totally awesome, I couldn’t help but wonder why they were playing a post-rock/post-metal show, until they fired up their last song, the second half of which turns away from riffing and instead builds a glassy soundscape that brought their rather excellent set to a close.

Pirate played next, and played a rather mixed set. They were best when the vocalist wasn’t singing and they were playing in some awkward time signature or with a choppy rhythm. As soon as the vocalist opened his mouth, or they went for a more straight forward rock moment, things seemed to fall apart and it just didn’t work. They’re certainly skilled musicians, but their songs just didn’t seem to come together at times.

Post-rock/metal giants Meniscus took the stage next. With the lights off and a projector running, Meniscus began their set with ambient swells, working on the classic post-rock build up. As the song sped towards its climax, guitarist Daniel Oreskovic slammed his distortion pedal with a kick and proceeded to jump around the stage like a man possessed, bashing his pick furiously into his guitar and jerking around like he was having a seizure. The visual aesthetic of Meniscus’ guitarist going crazy, coupled with the visuals from the projector, which were set to roughly match the music, and the climactic nature of Meniscus’ sound itself, made their entire set awe inspiring. They went from crafting atmosphere and ambience to blasting away at guitar driven climaxes, with out even breaking a sweat. I was pretty sure Meniscus had stolen the show from sleepmakeswaves , but I’d have to wait to find out.

Next on the bill were Canberra’s own post-rockers, Mornings. They didn’t really spread themselves out across the stage, and at times their sound didn’t seem to take up that much space either. However, they played through a solid set of post-rock, finishing their set off with plenty of feedback and noise, always a good way to finish a set.

With an hour to go before the end of the evening, sleepmakeswaves took the stage, ready to unleash their climatic soundscapes and furious melodies upon the audience. However, there was a lull in the suspense as they had to sort out a few technical issues relating to broken guitar leads. After a short wait, the band opened their set with the short and mellow Our Time Is Short But Your Watch Is Slow, transitioning into A Gaze As Blank and Pitiless As The Sun, the drummer nailing down the tom rolls as the band flew through melody after melody, executing the track almost perfectly,   almost replicating the atmosphere on the album. As A Gaze As Blank and Pitiless As The Sun came to a close, the band paused as the bass player, and apparent front man, Alex Wilson did the usual rounds of thanking the other bands and the venue, while the drummer and one of the guitarists worked on fixing yet another technical issue. With the latest technology based problem resolved, sleepmakewaves plowed on, diving into their single (Hello) Cloud Mountain, another short and mellow track. With (Hello) Cloud Mountain coming to a close, and the band roughly halfway through their set, they began the opening sounds of To You They Are Birds, To Me They are Voices In The Forest.  As they tore into the melodies and rhythms, another technical problem arouse, this time with guitarist Otto Wicks-Green’s pedals. The song powered along, with only one guitar part going for a while, but soon enough the issue had been fixed, and the band was back with both fists swinging for the climax of To You They Are Birds, To Me They are Voices In The Forest.

Have stuck to only songs off their newest album, Sleepmakeswaves decided to mix things up a bit, playing We Sing The Body Electric off their split with Tangled Thoughts of Leaving. They ripped through the tune, a personal favourite of mine, and a definite highlight of the night. With just one more song to play, Sleepmakeswaves finished with In Limbs And Joints, a perfect song to close the night with. The crashing drums and empowering melodies sent the song towards its close as the guitarists dropped to their knees and made furious noise, slamming pedal after pedal with their bare fists.

With the unfortunate exception of Pirate, all bands were great to watch. Despite several technical difficulties, sleepmakeswaves still put together a highly enjoyable and entertaining set. However, the true highlight of the night was Meniscus, who pulled out all stops and gave it their all to perform one hell of a show. I’d keep your eyes peeled for any gigs sleepmakewaves and Meniscus are playing in the future; these are not bands you want to miss.

Sleepmakeswaves Setlist:

Our Time Is Short But Your Watch Is Slow

A Gaze As Blank And Pitiless As The Sun

(Hello) Cloud Mountain

To You They Are Birds, To Me They Are Voices In The Forest

We Sing The Body Electric

In Limbs And Joints          

About

In between a busy schedule of studying, procrastination and sleeping Duncan sometimes writes album reviews. When not pretending to know things about music, he pretends to know things about the world over at Sudden Reason.