Sargent House show at Button Factory feat. ASIWYFA, Mylets & more – Review
The Premier League swung back in to action recently. For some fans this is a time when they can dream that their side will be holding aloft that slightly weird looking trophy come May. Fans of most teams though will be looking at the squads of the top four and wishing their side had that much talent at their disposal. On the evidence presented in the Button Factory of what the US label, Sargent House, currently have at their disposal, there could be a few rival labels feeling a bit like Burnley to Sargent House’s Chelsea or Man City.
Tortured football analogies aside, it was a pleasure to see such a host of great acts in Dublin and the diversity of the acts was very pleasing, with acts from both sides of the Atlantic on show. Although And So I Watch You From Afar were ostensibly the headliners, all acts were given equal time to showcase their wares and all were very impressive.
First up was Dublin’s No Spill Blood, a band that really went down well with the home crowd (oops! More football analogies). No Spill Blood are a really interesting prospect. Mixing ethereal synth lines with some downright dirty bass lines and throaty metal style vocals doesn’t sound like a recipe for success but No Spill Blood make it work, with the bass at times reminiscent of current flavour of the month Royal Blood – maybe they’re blood brothers (sorry, couldn’t resist that terrible joke)?
See also: Photos from Sargent House show
With No Spill Blood suitably revving up the crowd, next up came Henry Kohen, better known as Mylets. Possibly the best act of the night, Mylets was amazing. His guitar playing was of the highest quality, augmented by drum machines, loop pedals and various other effects, Mylets weaved an impressive aural tapestry. It’s a shame that the set was interrupted by technical issues as, with Kohen blaming himself for not checking his European power supplies. This interrupted the flow a little bit but Mylets got things back on track and ended with a flourish.
Emma Ruth Rundle has been involved with several bands including Nocturnes and Marriages. This year saw the release of her first solo record, Some Heavy Ocean. Taking to the stage in the Button Factory, she ran through a number of tracks, switching between acoustic and electric guitars. It was testament to Rundle’s talent that during those quieter, acoustic moments barely a breath could be heard from the crowd, while things got even more interesting when she donned the electric guitar for some livelier tunes that had just the merest whiff of PJ Harvey about them.
US trio Tera Melos were another highlight of the evening. At times harking back to American college rock, at other times almost veering in to drum and bass, Tera Melos clearly refuse to be tied down by such silly notions as genre. The vocal interplay between bass player Nathan Latona and guitarist Nick Reinhart was especially interesting. It was difficult to tell which of the vocals was the lead vocal, with Latona’s baritone blending seamlessly with Reinhart’s higher register. Reinhart also delivered some searingly off kilter riffs while John Clardy was a powerhouse on drums.
Arriving on stage to little fanfare and not saying a word all set, Russian Circles still managed to blow the roof off the place. Their brand of dark, brooding instrumental post rock transmits such deep emotion, it’s impossible not to be moved by the power of the band. Cloaked in darkness for most of the set, the band really know how to work a room and their arrangements are brilliant, dropping instruments out to ramp up the tension and bringing them back in at the perfect moment. An exceptional performance all round.
And so it fell to And So I Watch You From Afar to close proceedings. With so much goodness having gone before them, and being down a regular member with bassist Johnny Adger’s not present as his wife was due to give birth, it’s possible that this may have ended up as one of the less memorable ASIWYFA gigs. Lots of things are theoretically possible though. In practice ASIWYFA were as brilliant as they always were. With Ewen Friars from Axis of boldly stepping up to the plate for the night, the band delivered a typical high energy set, buzzing off each other as they usually do – perhaps even more so with the temporary addition Friars energizing the rest of the group due to the novelty of it. Johnny wasn’t forgotten though and tribute was paid to him at several points during a set that had the crowd clapping and singing along while the substitute delivered an excellent performance. Christ, more football analogies.