Pelican, These Arms Are Snakes
Angus Reid 19/04/2007
Having missed the first support band I stumble in just in time to catch the start of These Arms Are Snakes. From the off it's clear that they probably own a few At The Drive-In CDs - the singer is leaping around with exactly the same jerky, angular motions of Cedric Bixler. The rest of the band is lost to muddy sound however, as bass and guitar merge into a non distinct throb, leaving the drums and occasional vocal yelp to fend for themselves. It turns out this is a bit of a problem for Thes Arms Are Snakes, as they have a sound that relies upon twisting guitar riffs to maintain inerest. The vocals, such as they are, stretch to "graaaaa!!!" and "woargh!!!". It's nowhere near good enough to maintain interest so it's off to the foyer until Pelican come on.
The Islington Academy is packed, yet it's strangely easy to work through to the very front for the start of Pelican's set, and what a start it is. I knew it was going to be pretty heavy and droney, but I wasn't prepared for the double kick drum and sheer guitar tonnage that followed. After a fast and brief start, we're into more assured and melodic territory with 'City of Echoes' which comes across excellently live, a perfect blend of quiet, loud, slow and fast bits. The rest of the set is divided into two similar camps, either really heavy drone rock, or more varied songs that take you on a bit more of a musical journey. 'Drought' is very much one of the former, which inspires what can only be described as a 'nod pit', but this is then followed by a new song "(mumblemumble)Headlights" which pitches us very much into the latter camp again.
Part of the problem of living on the outskirts of London however is that you need to leave at half ten if you want to get the last train. Therefore, a show needs to be absolutely superb and really draw you in if you're going to hang around and get the night bus instead. Pelican weren't good enough to make me stay, unfortunately, just fairly enjoyabe.
photo by RyanRussell.net