Last night, two members of the Subculture team took to The Bodega, an intimate venue in the heart of Nottingham to witness some exemplorary new material (and old) from the much talked about, Field Music.
Barely fitting on the stage, the four members took residence in their barely metre square confinements. Taking to the mic, David noted that this was their first time headlining in Nottingham, to obvious whoops and cheers. It is a wonder however, that they didn't secure a slightly bigger venue. Even Rescue Rooms would potentially have been a more befitting arena. Complain though we must not, because to see such an acclaimed band where even at the back you are a whisker away, is refreshing (if not a little stuffy).
They open in mystical, magical style. Twinkles on the lead guitar, an effect that instantly relieves agitation in the crowd, transporting them into the world of field music. It wasn't long however until they crashed into something a little harder, breaking the spell. This however, was released for David's vocals and sultry keys, aloft with an overwhelming air of youthfulness and adventure. The way they handled this song was extraordinary. So many interestingly arranged movements, all timed to a T, reminiscent of Queen or ELO. This is something bands seem to have forgotten about these days, but not these guys. Just five minutes in and we have already been taken on a musical journey, showcasing their repertoire, hooking each ear avidly in their direction.
Flowing through to the next, they partied on into one of their happiest numbers 'House Is Not A Home'. Cafe Penguin Orchestra-esque keys lit the room in smiles. This is the sort of track, that if given the room in a gig, you would run, whirl and twirl like a 9 year old kid. Ever composed, you wondered how they remained so static when it was clear they were itching for a groove.
The whole set was awry with late 80's Prog inspiration and surprisingly early 2000 thrashy post grunge / new indie Americana. High pitched unison vocals, quick, bouncing riffs, sliding minor lead guitar and quick twangs with blocky percussion. This is the type of music that is more about them, not necessarily for anyone listening, but this in turn makes it worth listening to, seeing the band on stage lost in their own decoration.
Rolling into 'Is This The Picture' were hard but neat doubled drums, with slightly off beat catchy riffs, before trademark breaks that induce a calm and relief. A song of opposites, they played this well with much vigour, to the delight of onlookers. They were well settled into their set now, confident in Prog inspired movements and keeping a feverish pace about them. Glock percussion throughout set a grounding through individual tangents, where offsetting minor breaks adeed an extra dimension to the entire feel.
Heavy riff induced stomping elements were at the key of this set. It seemed as if they were adement on tearing the tiny walls of this small area down, whilst maintaining an unhinged desire for happiness. Killer bass-lines were more noticeable live than they ever have been from their studio recordings. It is clear, once heard next to each other, old and new material, what direction they have chosen to take. They have less angst and pent up emotions. Perhaps it's time they have spent with Belle and Sebastian that has turned them into happy machines, or perchance it could be age. Whatever it is though, its worth dancing too!
As said time and time again, the true testament of a band is how they perform live, and field music are most notably a great live act to behold. It was a great chance to see a band we potentially misconceived as almost timid, letting loose and playing what they want to, exactly how they wanted it. A great gig will last with you for years to come, and a better one will leave you to contemplate. This was both. Perhaps they would consider adding a small brass section to give them that one final lift. If they do, they could go down as one of the top acts to see live this year. In fact, without the brass, they still make that mark.
Field Music's latest L.P 'Plumb', released through Memphis Industries is now available for purchase at you local music selling establishment.
Much credit must be given to our in house photographer Ben Parker for some great shots in extremely limited confinements.