Sea monsters just keeps getting better and better. Tonight’s gig was amazing. Quite possibly – and I know it’s very early to start using these words – gig of the year. Strong words, I know.
First up were DA-10.DA-10 stood out because they were the first band I’ve seen so far (except Robert Stillman) not to rely on guitars at all, and the only band on the whole bill of Sea Monsters to make dance music. Picture a slightly more chilled out Daft Punk, with the bottom end of their sound enlightened by the kind of filthy noises made since the advent of dubstep and fidget house.
Next up was Speak Galactic. Our paths had crossed briefly several weeks ago, when they supported Laetitia Sadier at the Green Door Store. They were incredibly loud though, and I was meeting a friend, so I stayed in the bar. I should have gone and investigated though, because it turns out that Speak Galactic were one of the most interesting bands on the Sea Monsters bill so far. Owen Thomas, who effectively is Speak Galactic (there’s a drummer too, but you can see all the amazing ideas are coming from Owen), played on tuesday night as part of Cinemascopes, and I noted that it was him who elevated them above a normal band. On his own, the ideas are flying out everywhere – songs skip around genres and technology is pushed to the limit. I was incredibly impressed. If this guy isn’t a superstar in the next twelve months, then there’s something wrong with the world.
Then came Nullifier, whose lead singer was Speak Galactic’s drummer. One of their keyboard players was playing last night in Negative Pegasus. In fact, all of the band members seemed have been playing in other gigs in Sea Monsters. There were seven members in Nullifier, which proved (for them at least) to be too many to fit onto the stage. So the singer, a bassist, and the guitarist performed out in the audience (leaving two keyboard players, a drummer and another bassist onstage). Which made the photography challenging to say the least.
And last of all was Restlesslist, who were an absolute triumph. Where other bands came and played sets, Restlesslist transformed the Prince Albert into another world. And while they might have been headlining a night a Sea Monsters, they would have been equally at ease headlining a stage at Glastonbury. The band – all six of them – were accompanied on stage by an eye patch wearing Mark Campbell, who between songs narrated a psychedelic story involving dogs in hats, shapeshifting beauties, and volcanic eruptions. Between his words Restlesslist effortlessly skipped around pretty much every genre in the textbook – Rock, pop, musical, krautrock, calypso, you name it. If any other band over the next two days managed to beat this performance, then I’ll be amazed.