Grails - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Grails - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-07-01

The last time Grails’ Emil Amos was at the Brudenell Social Club, he was beating the skins for meditative rock-titans Om. Grails is where Amos gets to completely indulge his love of 70s horror soundtracks, spaghetti western scores and all things sweeping and cinematic. They’ve released a number of great albums since the early 00s, including the mind-meltingly fantastic Deep Politics LP which I really can’t recommend enough. A chance to hear how the band would translate these huge pieces for the live environment seemed too good to miss.

Support came from Lilacs & Champagne, who turned out to be another outlet for Amos’ genius with pretty much the same band behind him. Lilacs & Champagne certainly share some common ground with Grails. They create atmospheric, instrumental soundscapes which display a fondness for, understanding of and sensitivity towards obscure film soundtracks. The primary difference is the addition of hip-hop-indebted beats.

Amos starts the set playing guitar and it turns out he’s as impressive here as he is behind a drum kit. Things really get going once Amos’ gets behind the drums though; he's definitely one of the most versatile and impressive drummers I’ve been lucky enough to see.

It’s a strong performance but ultimately serves as a warm-up to the more impressive, jaw-dropping aspects of Grails sound. The band are all ridiculously talented and manage to effortlessly recreate the Morricone-esque magic they summon on their recorded output. Tracks like ‘Almost Grew My Hair’ and ‘All the Colours of the Dark’ sound genuinely epic, with Amos’ intricate but powerful drumming driving everything forward. The riff from the former track gets lodged in my head for days afterwards.

Projections play behind the band, mixing clips from obscure horror films with psychedelic, kaleidoscopic imagery. The projector turns off of its own accord at some point, yet it doesn’t really matter. Grails create a sound which can’t help but fire your imagination, endlessly running scenes of western showdowns and sci-fi epics through your head as they play. It’s breath-taking stuff.

No-one else is really doing what Grails do and I feel pretty privileged to be able to witness such a unique and well-honed band. They encore with their rendition of Sun City Girls' cult-classic ‘Space Prophet Dogon’, with the Brudenell audience still shouting for more. If you get a chance to see them, don’t pass it up.

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