Black Submarine at Wilton’s Music Hall
There’s life in the old guitarist yet. Never has this adage been truer than in the case of Nick McCabe, former member of The Verve and now one fifth of Black Submarine, along with fellow Verve alumni Simon Jones, Davide Rossie (Coldplay/Goldfrapp), Michele Schillace and Amelia Tucker. The band, formerly known as Black Ships, are gearing up for the release of their debut album with just two UK shows, so it’s no surprise that the London date at Wilton’s Music Hall is completely sold out.
The setting could not be more perfect for the highly anticipated performance. Wilton’s Music Hall is London’s best-kept secret, a gem of a venue steeped in so much history that you can almost smell the lingering smoke from the 16th century alehouse. Black Submarine up the atmosphere with mesmerizing visuals and their hypnotic self-titled opening track Black Submarine, a trance inducing blend of chant-like vocals, deep industrial beats and eerie strings.
Nick McCabe is returning to his experimental roots with Black Submarine, their sound being reminiscent of Gravity Grave from The Verve’s much underappreciated first EP. But this band isn’t just a rehash of what McCabe had hoped The Verve could be. They defy time, sounding surprisingly current despite their 60s psych revival vibe.
Moving from the dirty, growling guitars on See Through You to the tender drones of Move Me a Mountain, Black Submarine prove that there is variety in psych. It’s a serious and meticulous set, mirrored by the audience who stand in awe at the pure noise emanating from the exceptional five piece. A little awkward banter interrupts the gravity in places, but it’s the music that’s key.
Amelia Tucker’s vocals are understated, sometimes too much so, leaving her otherwise powerful voice buried under the layers of tumbling chords and pounding drums; although this may be partly due to the endless echoing potential of the venue.
Heart First, with its ultra–experimental, mindwarp of an ending commands the set, and Everything That Happened to Me Is You, fresh from their new album New Shores lets Davide Rossi’s string skills shine through, proving he really is the king of violin. Epic Here So Rain finishes off a mind-blowing set with one final experimental binge, and finally shows Tucker as the masterful siren she is.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Black Submarine’s website here.
Watch the video for Here So Rain here: