I’ve hit the big 3-0, but my mellowed out music tastes have yet to affect the predominantly heavy stuff I end up seeing live (I’m listening to Johnny Flynn’s Country Mile whilst writing this after a stressful bit of work putting a turntable together).
Last night I went to see Letlive’s sold out gig in Clwb Ifor Bach on a friend’s recommendation, and from the off they were brill. At the start of the set the floor started shaking with the amount of jumping and moshing done by the crowd. Last time that happened was at the Bronx gig I went to there a while back – proof it takes a tight and explosive band to get people moving like that.
Their sound was intense – a mix of the innovation of Glassjaw and the straight out post-hardcore of Finch. The rolling basslines were complimented by solid drums, with mini-fills focussed on beats, not exuberance. The bass notes often picked out the bass drum, which meant the rhythm section sounded tight as hell.
There was a nod to the punk ethos that has obviously inspired them with a cover of Black Flag’s Fix Me, which was dedicated to the soundman. But there was also a nod to an old school emo (think Rites of Spring – this similarly seemed to be a reaction against old school 80s hardcore and its overt masculinity) with their unashamed focus on emotion, something which seemed to invigorate the crowd as the guy in front of me throwed some awesome shapes! This was probably best exemplified by one of the last songs they played, Muther, with its refrain of ‘don’t you cry mama, we’ll be ok’, but also by Jason Aalon Butler’s confessional stage presence, and his proclamations of love for the audience. It’s his vocal performance that rallies against any lazy emo comparisons. His impressive range mixed yelps, long notes held and guttural screams. But at the end of the day Mariah Carey has an impressive vocal range, but what she lacks and Letlive have in abundance is conviction.