Angus Reid 23/05/2007
Tensions are running high in Catch on this Wednesday evening. Fingers drum nervously, eyes flick around, and there's a sense of hushed expectation in the room. Once Milan have taken the lead in the Champions League final and the gig can't be held off any longer however, Untitled 1961 take the stage, still with one eye on what's going on football-wise in Athens.
They don't seem distracted once they start playing, opener "I Will Read The Ancient Maps" explodes into life, as do the band. We're definitely in modern post-rock territory here, with Pelican-esque moments of massively heavy riffing giving way to gentle delay addled passages before plunging headlong into the riffs again. This is a band committed to playing live, and it's where they work best. They move like men posessed, bassist Steve appearing to be controlled by the instrument as he swaggers around the limited stage space, narrowly avoiding drumkit, mic stand and fellow band members.
After the inital wordless post-rock antics, the vocal tracks take over, and this is something Untitled 1961 make full use of, with three vocals competing for attention. Sometimes they take it in turns, but they're at their best when together, with the desperate shouts of "Where has our Captain gone?" ringing through the venue as if it were a sinking ship, taking everyone present with it.
By the penultimate song we're treated to a nice bit of rock melodrama, complete with the tense, building guitars that can only lead to one thing - more colliding, jarring, crunching riffs. The drum kit looks like it won't be able to take much more, drummer Marc pounding the living daylights out of it with every last bit of energy he's got. As we reach the final song, something spectacular happens. As all three members join the chant of "I'm not rejoicing til I see the shoreline", someone decides it's probably about time they turned the stage lights on instead of the usual bar lighting. suddenly, the theatricality of the music and the movement on stage all makes sense and all hell breaks loose as the band fall into a wild-eyed, frenzied assault on the ears and, at this volume, chest cavities of those present. It has exactly the desired result, engulfing the audience in a wall of sound so immense you can feel it. And with that, the'yre done.
Untitled 1961 have been described as one of the best live bands in London, and on this evidence it's not hard to see why, they play every gig like it's their last act on earth. One day that may well be true, so make the most of them before they combust onstage.