Poltergeist at The Garage
Poltergeist dispensed with niceties and introductions at The Garage last night, choosing to let their music speak for them. The trio arrived on stage at the cosy venue dressed in their customary white hoodies, and without a word began their set.
The band are a power trio, led by Echo & the Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant. While he and Ian McCulloch continue to perform under the Bunnymen moniker (a new album is due out soon) Sergeant has sought to explore fresh sonic pastures through a number of other projects, putting out ambient instrumental records under his own name and Glide from the late 90s onwards. Poltergeist is his latest pet project, teaming up with former Bunnymen bassist Les Pattinson and touring drummer Nick Kilroe.
The group specialise in conjuring atmospheric soundscapes that bring to mind the sound of the Krautrock bands of the 70s. Lacking any of the commercial potential of the Bunnymen’s anthemic moments, Poltergeist’s debut was funded through the site Pledge Music. It was a method that allowed the group complete freedom, away from the prying eyes of any major labels.
Pattinson’s bass took centre stage during the night’s performance, laying down one melodious line after another, around which Sergeant’s guitar swirled and Kilroe’s drumming pounded. Despite most of their songs lasting seven or eight minutes, they were never in danger of becoming repetitious. Once a rhythm was set, it was mined for all of its hypnotic potential, pausing every now and then for a glistening, cymbal heavy breather or a twiddling guitar solo.
While the group themselves opted for unanimity through their uniform, the show itself was a visual feast: a kaleidoscope of images were projected onto the curtained stage backdrop, a psychedelic collage including everything from old B-movie footage to time-lapse footage taken from nature documentaries. Together with the incessant rhythms of the music, the projections lent the show a dream-like quality, the audience mostly just swaying slightly to the wall of sound and vision presented to them.
After playing through nearly the entirety of the record Your Mind Is a Box (Let Us Fill It with Wonder), the three musicians left the stage with the same quiet reserve of their arrival. There was no place for histrionics at this show, just three seasoned professionals playing the style of music that they wanted, and doing it very well.
For further information and future events visit Poltergeist’s website here.
Watch the video for Your Mind Is a Box (Let Us Fill It with Wonder) here: