Having only just found out about Rosetta last week, I was drawn to the post-rock band after numerous fans of the genre cited them as being one of the more influential acts to have emerged in the wake of the genre having garnered increasing interest in recent memory. And whilst there are also other bands on my shopping list, it’s not every day that one discovers a band, to only then find out that they’re playing a show in your home city a week after. And so it was the case that I discovered the band late last weekend, snapped up a ticket for their London show, and went to see the band last night.
After reading about Minor Threat’s experiences with John Lydon in ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991‘ where Ian Mackaye had felt insulted after The Sex Pistols and PiL frontman had missed their set, and after having missed out on the rather excellent Failure when the LA band supported Refused on their recent UK tour, I vowed to make more of a concerted effort in checking out support bands in future. Because you never know… You might end up seeing the next “big thing”, or witnessing a band that you can’t wait to brag about to your friends (and the internet) – whilst acting as the proverbial taste-maker.
With the doors opening at 5pm, the first band on was The Ever Living. Personally, and even if I got to speak to one of the rather friendly band members beforehand, The Ever Living didn’t really do anything for me. Maybe it’s because as I get older, I find it increasingly hard to get excited about “loud aggressive music”, or maybe it’s because I find that very few bands can integrate vocals as part of their post-metal sound. Either way, I found The Ever Living’s growly death-metal style vocals to really jar with my own musical sensibilities, although it’s worth bearing in mind that the band’s music also failed to leave much of an impression on me. That’s not to say that The Ever Living does’t have its fans – as the band’s self-titled EP has been getting pretty good reviews in the press. Still, it’s early days yet, and maybe the band will mature into something really special in the years to come.
Next up was Telepathy – an instrumental metal band based in London and the South East of England. An unexpected and delightful surprise, Telepathy really left an impression on me, if only because their brand of post-metal didn’t have any vocals, and also because I generally preferred their music a whole lot more in comparison. Indeed, so good were the band that I immediately sought out their 12 Areas LP after the band had finished their set. And whilst part of me mourned that I had parted with my money so soon in the evening, as I still had yet to check out the other two support bands, at the end I felt vindicated by my decision as Telepathy were definitely the best support band of the evening. Seriously, go and check these guys out… They’re extremely good.
After Telepathy had finished playing their set, I was expecting even bigger things with North – a three piece hailing from Arizona that was generating a fair bit of excitement amongst concert goers, with a lot of people turning up to see their set. Alas however, they just didn’t do anything for me. As stated previously, a band has to be really special in order to pull off having vocals as part of their post-metal sound, and again (like The Ever Living) North just didn’t quite make the cut. They must have done something right though, as their set got a pretty good reception from the crowd.
Last of the support bands was The Black Heart Rebellion. Now this is a band that I was looking forward to, if only because I had spotted their Har Nevo album at the merch stand and had found myself being immediately intrigued by its front cover. Sadly however, The Black Heart Rebellion failed to resonate. That’s not to say that the Belgium band were bad, as the Belgian collective definitely had their stand-out moments, but alas, these were few and far throughout their set.
With all the previous support bands having finished their sets, it was time for the main act. And with Rosetta coming late to the venue, the band still needed to soundcheck before the start of their set at 8:50pm. This only took a few minutes however, and with so many years of experience under their belt, it’s not at all surprising that Rosetta still managed to start on time. Not that I would have complained, but you know… some people would have.
Having briefly talked to Rosetta vocalist Michael Armine prior to the band’s set, and finding him to be extremely mild mannered and articulate throughout our conversation, I was immediately taken aback by how completely he was able to transform his softly spoken vocal delivery into something that was a lot more aggressive in comparison. Indeed, it was impressive to to witness this stylistic transformation, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to guess that someone like Michael Armine was capable of such range – with the front-man’s stage presence and the way in which he carried himself, together with his baggy trousers, implying that he could also do extremely well in fronting a faster (and more aggressive) punk outfit. I don’t know… for some bizarre reason, Michael Armine reminded me of JS Clayden of industrial noise outfit Pitchshifter – who I had the pleasure of interviewing a few years back.
All things considering, I thought that the band played a pretty good set. But given that I only found out about the band last week, and hadn’t had much time in fully acclimatising myself to the their recording output – save for the two songs featured in the video above – I couldn’t enjoy Rosetta’s set as much as I would have done if I was actually familiar with their songs. I did however go out of my way to order the recent re-press of Wake / Lift on vinyl, and definitely intend to purchase The Galilean Satellites and Quintessential Ephemera at some point in future. But in the meantime, there’s far too much other stuff to check out. Anyway, here are my photos of last night’s performance below: