It is quite hard to describe the psychology of going to a gig of a band that one loves, especially when this gig is about the presentation of the band’s latest album. I consider ‘Songs For The Broken Ones to be the best album of The Eden House to date and it has been too long since the last time I saw Monica Richards (who is playing a major role in this album) perform, so this gig had all the ingredients to be a perfect one. Apart from The Eden House whose show was both mesmerizing and beautiful, this was an evening with many surprises, but let me take things from the beginning.

Siberia was the fourth band that was included in the evening’s line up that we did not know about. Siberia, a.k.a Matt(vocals) and Dave are from Reading and released their debut album entitled ‘Turning Back Tides‘ through Swiss Dark Knights earlier this year. The rhythms and overall style of this album hark back to the music and style of The Mission. Their show had a lot of passion as Matt is a very communicative performer with a warm voice, one who charges with emotion every verse of each song. I loved the rhythms and the melodies of their music but I found that at times the singing was more focused on expressing the dynamics of the lyrics rather than being on pitch. On the other hand, once the attention was focused on the expressions and the emotions that were being communicated, pitch accuracy sometimes became less important.

Next was The Society and with them, the second surprise, as the band appeared with a new singer and a different bassist, since the last time we saw them perform live at Electrowerkz on November 2015.First of all let’s clarify that The Society is one of the two halves in which the band The Danse Society, has split up in 2014. The Society is the band that was started by Paul Gilmartin (drums) and uses this name after a legal battle has settled a disagreement about the use of the name ‘The Danse Society’. The last time we saw this band, their sound and overall stage appearance was perceived as both ‘heavier’ and ‘harsher’ compared to their appearance at O2 Academy Islington. Brian Jay was the lead vocalist and Ade Clarke was playing the bass. Sometime in 2016, Jonathan Cridford replaced Brian and is now the lead vocalist with which the band self released their latest EP entitled ‘Night Ship‘. A few people around me were wondering whether this was actually The Society playing, something that became clear, only when ‘Somewhere’ was played. This also happened when the band played live at Electrowerkz even though the banners and artwork of The Danse Society were hanging from the walls. The setlist included old songs of The Danse Society such as ‘Seduction’ and ‘These Frayed Edges’ and new songs from the recent EP of the band.I liked Jonathan’s stage appearance and his energy which motivated the audience. He is less austere, more gothic in aesthetics and has a more lyrical voice than Brian whose background was in metal music. I find that aesthetically, Jonathan fits the band’s renewed sound better, where Brian applied colder colours and grungier mood to the sound of the band, Jonathan applies sensitivity. In addition, Jonathan’s kinesiology adds lighter dimensions to the heavy guitars. It is important to stress that the sound of ‘Night Ship’ is also stylistically different from the album ‘Reincarnated’ that this band released in 2015 as The Danse Society. In this EP, there is less focus on the heaviness of the drums and the electric guitars are not on the foreground. The music now has more electronic and melodic elements at the back, courtesy of the synth melodies which sadly we did not enjoy enough during the live show as Darran (Guy) at the keyboards was almost hidden from view at the back of the stage and the sound of the keyboards was not stressed enough. Towards the end of the show, a fifth musician joined the band on stage playing percussion, which was a great addition to the lineup and to the sound. As much as I enjoyed the show of The Society I could not help but hope that this band finds its character and gets more stability in its lineup.

What came next was a violently happy wave of positivity that was much needed and to which everyone responded warmly. The Skeletal Family is indeed a tightly knit, deathrock, punk music family that has so much energy, that it can keep you excited until at least two days after the gig! It had been many years since the last time I saw the band play live and I had greatly missed their shows. What these four musicians with their dedicated stage sound engineer have built over the years is an unparalleled, enviable confidence in sharing the stage and playing together as a team and an admirable spontaneity and sincerity in the communication with the audience. If you were not knocked off your feet during the set of The Skeletal Family, then you might have missed your only chance to dance hysterically and carefree during this gig. People around me were comparing Anne Marie’s style to that of Nina Hagen and I wanted to join one of those conversations that happened in between tracks, in order to say that aesthetically she was the equivalent of Pris at The Blade Runner. We listened to ‘She Cries Alone’, ‘So Sure’,‘Don’t Be Denied’,‘Last Train’,‘This Time’, before the band closed with a frenetic version of ‘Promised Land’. The presence of a stage sound engineer really made a positive difference in the quality of the sound that arrived at the audience both at the front and at the back as lyrics were heard clearly and riffs showed no sign of muffled sound. Apart from Ozzy (drums), there was not a single musician that was not dancing and who was not caught in the atmosphere of the songs. At times dancing with each other and at other times just enjoying the rhythms, the music and the atmosphere, Anne Marie, Trotwood, Stan and Ozzy created a time capsule transferring the people that were too young during the 80s, to the atmosphere the band must have created while playing live then. I found myself wishing there was more time left for them to play but now it was finally the turn of the beloved Eden House to take stage!

The time was almost 21.30 and the venue was still not full…This was surprising considering that The Eden House were showcasing their new album through this gig that was part of their UK tour. The atmosphere in the audience was also charged by that point, as a few people at the front were already being confrontational with each other, but let’s come back to that later.

 

Microphones wrapped in flowers were placed at the front, a still from the interior of a gothic church, was projected on a screen, part of the setting that the band used for filming a video and for the artwork of their album, as the Eden House prepared the stage very quickly. As Louise (Crane) and Meghan (Noel Pettitt), two of the five singers that participated in the band’s latest album, found their places behind the microphones, the central microphone was empty ready to welcome Monica Richards after the first song, ‘Neversea’ from the EP ‘Time Flows’. The next surprise of the evening was the absence of Bob (Loveday) at the violin, which caused me some concern as the violin is an instrument that plays a major role in the atmosphere of the band’s music. As we spotted Christina (Emery), the violinist of Red Sun Revival in the audience, we could not help but think that it would be really great if Christina was invited to cover for Bob during this show. There were already two members of Red Sun Revival on stage, Simon Rippin giving life to the rhythms of the drums and Rob Leydon at the electric guitar and backing vocals, so Christina’s presence would have been ideal for this show… Monica Richards, joined the two talented vocalists in the next song and was greeted with a warm applause. The energy on stage was positive yet more composed compared with that of The Skeletal Family and apart from the occasional gaze between the vocalists, the musicians were not very communicative between themselves, each focusing on their own role and their personal communication with the audience. It is a different approach to a live show really. There are bands which focus on creating ‘a bang’ on stage with their attitude and expressiveness and other bands which focus more on establishing a connection with the audience on a personal level. The character of the music of The Eden House, calls for a different attitude on stage and that is what everyone delivered in a beautiful way. Everything was true to the aesthetics of the band’s music, from the melodies that Stephen (Carey) played on the guitar and Monica’s extroverted and magnetising performance, to Louise’s nymphic outfit, Meghan’s contemplative gazes and warm voice, the beats that Simon (Rippin) was passionately expressing, the riffs that Rob (Leydon) played with an air of mystique, the notes that Tony (Pettitt) played, skilfully and with an air of captivating aloofness.

The songs that formed the setlist covered the history of the band so far and the selection was such, that Monica Richards was several times off stage. The next surprise was that, sometimes, in between songs, Rob was vaping which gave him the air of medieval nobleman but also made someone from the audience make a joke about it that received no reaction from the band. Talking about the audience, we sadly read on social media, that someone threw a piece of glass on stage and while we did not witness this incident, we do not find this strange, especially because by that time, halfway through the show, some people were already drunk and their confrontational attitude was evident. Security was not called by anyone as is often the case during gigs and it was pure luck that prevented the occurrence of an accident on stage, as a result of this behaviour.

‘Misery’,‘Verdades (I Have Chosen You)’ , ‘The Ghost of You’, ‘Words And Deeds’,‘Second Skin’,’12th Night’ were the songs from the latest album that were performed while the band also visited their first album ‘Smoke&Mirrors’ by offering beautiful versions of ‘All My Love’, ‘Reach Out’ with Louise at the lead vocals. It would have been nice if the beautiful video from ‘Verdades (I Have Chosen You)’ would have also been projected as well, alongside the rest of the videos that the band has created to accompany their latest album. Overall the sound was very good even for somebody sitting at the back but I could not help but think that a stage engineer could also enhance the melodies in the band’s music even further. Towards the end of the show, the band had saved two more pleasant surprises for us, the inclusion of two Faith&The Muse songs from the past, ‘Battle Hymn’ which happens to be one of my absolute favourites, to which Rob Leydon provided backing vocals and ‘Sparks’. The band closed the show nicely with ‘To Believe In Something’.

Although I did not have the chance this time to listen to my favourite songs from the latest album of The Eden House, ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ and ‘Let Me In’ , I did have the chance to enjoy a fantastic show by the band who could not have showcased their latest work in a more impressive way!

You can see more photos from the gig here: http://blaue-rosen.com/the-eden-house-the-skeletal-family-the-society-siberia-live-at-o2-academy-islington-2017/

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