Arcane Roots at DingwallsCultureMusicLive music
A couple of ear-assaulting bars into Sacred Shapes, the third song of his band’s set in canal-side Camden cavern Dingwalls, singer/guitarist Andrew Groves has to shush his colleagues into silence to make an emergency appeal to the crowd. “There’s no barrier here, and some people are going down and struggling” he says, “we need to stick to vertical jumping”. That it’s necessary to impart health and safety advice at such an early point in the gig is testament both to an audience positively bursting with boisterous energy from the get-go, and to an infectious brutality within the noise that fills the room around them and inspires their riotous devotion.
Arcane Roots have been forging such allegiance since their first headline shows in 2011. Now, fresh from a European tour, the Kingston upon Thames three-piece are able, it seems, to connect to their fans live with such well-honed precision as to insight a mosh pit from the moment they arrive on stage (with heavy and angular opener Second Breath). The band’s sound is as well defined through the crowd’s reaction than via any easily expressed genre. Groves’ considerable hardcore metal guitar ability drives songs that most commonly blend soaring and melodic yearningly-worded indie pop verses with furious asymmetrical breakdowns that make many of those assembled want to smash about into each other (and so they do). In spite of the earlier warning, tracks which follow this pattern, such as Energy Is Never Lost, Just Redirected and You Are send the place into a leaping frenzy.
Outside of rapturous atmosphere, weaknesses become apparent when taking the band as a whole. Though fresh-sounding, here’s not a great deal of range to their musicality, and while their harder edge makes comparisons to Biffy Clyro a little unfair in one regard, Arcane Roots’ blander, more generic line in lyrics also makes it no contest in another. There are certainly songs on the setlist which dwell too long in the angsty calm before the angry storm, such as tonight’s encore Belief. In fairness though, the crowd were entitled to a rest by that point, and as they funnelled out into the cold night afterward, they were certainly happy as well as exhausted.
For further information about Arcane Roots and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Belief here: