Caspain prove post-rock ain’t no limp body with a powerful performance in Leeds
Caspian appeared on my radar about two years ago, shortly before the release of their EP Hymn For the Greatest Generation. I’ve been in love ever since, and and with opportunities to see these chaps live so few and far between, I knew I couldn’t miss a chance.
The only support for the evening comes in the form of virtuoso cellist Jo Quail, a woman whose mastery of her instrument – along with a mass of effects pedals – washes over you like a delicate wave of aural complexity, despite her taking to the stage on her own.
Unfortunately for Jo there’s a second gig taking place in the room next door, which means a driving rockabilly bass line at times distracts from what should be a massively tranquil performance. Nevertheless, she powers on through and sets the stage beautifully for the main event.
Caspian’s latest album Dust and Disquiet is a serious contender for my album of the year, and the ache to see this material played live is almost too much. As they take to the stage to a somewhat mellow audience, they jump straight into the new album’s lead single “Darkwater”. Its swirling wall of noise leaps forth and envelops the crowd. The wall of light acting as their back drop enhances the bright yet melancholic tones even more.
As the set surges through “Echo And Abyss” and “Of Foam And Wave“, the crowd find themselves swept away in a current of reverb and noise that breathes and enraptures. This is an event, not at a show and everyone in attendance surely feels exactly the same.
“Ríoseco” slows the pace down somewhat. Its meandering depth is bright yet wistful and despite the somewhat muddy sound it comes across with palpable intent. Going back in time to their debut album, the simplistic flare of “The Dove” might feel somewhat out-shadowed considering the depth of the band’s latest release but it’s a welcome change, and a breath of fresh air before the waves of “ASA” come crashing down with all the intensity the band can muster.
As Caspian hit “Arcs Of Command“, something clicks in the crowd, and their somewhat subdued approach is lost as a sea of head banging erupts to the deep and powerful rhythm of this track; each beat is solid and expansive.
If nothing else, Caspian are vast. Their sounds echo and surge through every single person watching, and the energy is contagious and overwhelming. As the band fire off “Sycamore” to round off their set, the crowd are both startled and humbled by the energy the band have used to deliver their set. Some might claim that post-rock is boring and lifeless, but Caspian disagree and quite rightly so!