Review by Toni Woodward with Photography by Denise Wilson

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Arriving midway through Snapped Ankles’ early set, it is hard to get through the doors let alone manage to find a space to be able to view the band. Needless to say, this is possibly one of the most popular support acts I have seen in a long time. Championed by 6 Music’s Marc Riley, Snapped Ankles angular and unique take on music has seen them gain fans at an increasing rate over the past couple of years.

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Their shamanic and pagan influenced costumes create an air of intrigue to the performance, which compliments the post-punk repetitive nature of the music that is pounding through the venue. Many people are moving along with the log-synth vibe and lapping up the atmosphere that has been created by what are being classed as the most exciting live band on the circuit at the moment. Austin jumps from the stage with a tape measure literally to measure the room in line with the lyrics about the loss of live music venues that are being sold to build flats and generate money at the cost of art

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This is an unsurprising topic choice for a band that have consistently promoted an ecological theme throughout their work. The band have honed their skills at producing well-organised melee and, as they leave their instruments and samples whirring to exit the stage, the audience are still appreciate the sounds for further couple of minutes despite an empty space where the four-piece had laid down an inspiring set.

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There is a substantial amount of kit on stage that needs manoeuvring before BEAK> can start their set, but this is done swiftly and efficiently so that the banter may begin. Surprisingly, BEAK> are ridiculously entertaining between songs in a slightly old-school Top Gear style, by making jokes at each other’s expense which starts as soon as they walk on to the stage. This relaxed chatty attitude is at odds with the music they produce as their Krautrock inspired electronica has a sinister repetitive edge, illustrated beautifully with the opening track, The Brazilian. The Brazilian has a baseline that is reminiscent of a 1970’s police drama which is enhanced by the swirling keyboard and guitar.

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After a request for more bass in the monitors resulting in brief snippet of Rage Against The Machine, they move into Brean Down. Temporarily the snare drum is overpowering but when that is rectified their dynamics throughout the performance become apparent, carefully constructing an atmosphere and crescendo that draws the song to a close.

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The set comprises of a selection of tracks from all of their albums, Eggdog is the from their first album and sees a mesmerising vibe flow through the venue that has the audience holding along with the beat as the haunting keyboard line and minimal lyrics enhance the uneasiness. Eggdog and Wulfstan II are certainly the outstanding tracks of the evening, possibly because Wulfstan II takes the band more towards The Black Angels with its lone guitar solo and its commanding bassline without losing the repetitive and enrapturing beats.

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RSI sees the £80 disco lights from eBay have been unleashed to heighten the mood that ends in an abrupt fashion to lead into a discussion about football that causes themselves to question their highbrow status followed by Alle Sauvage that brings a true dance feel to the occasion.

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BEAK> considerately choose not to do encores “because they are shit” and it is too much effort to leave the stage to only come back on and proceed with Blagdon Lake, with its simply elegant riff that develops as the song progresses interspersed with sharp stabs that make it an aurally fascinating piece. As the set completes, there is no question that the sell out crowd have been awesomely entertained by two distinctive bands who exploited repetition for maximum effect. It is fantastic that you can experience such ground breaking bands in a small venue as the intimate setting certainly added to the atmosphere.

See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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