Vessels at the Oslo Hackney
The Oslo is not yet crowded, and it does not look like a place where all the cool kids go. It rather seems to be a gathering of knowledgeable Vessels fans that have stuck around with the band through its two facets. A few minutes later, the band members get on stage and start off with a quick sound-check that slowly evolves into the first song on the setlist. The audience receives Vertical with gratitude and excitement, but it is the third song they play, Echo In, that really gets everyone dancing. By now, the venue is packed out.
The Leeds quintet’s third album represented a major stylistic change of direction: think less Explosions in The Sky and more Caribou. However, the highly electronic quality of Dilate is delivered much more candidly when played live. This is probably due to the two percussion kits that almost fill the entire stage, accompanied by three keyboards and a Telecaster in the back corner. Although riffs and post-rock pretensions have been left aside, the intricate weaving of sounds they propose still echoes with the instrumental layers of their earlier work. Moreover, the math-rock accuracy with which they play translates well to an electronic downtempo.
The set continues with tracks from the new album that include On Your Own Ten Toes, Attica, and Glass Lake. The only one that stands out for not being part of Dilate is The Sky Was Pink, which the audience receives with warmth. There is no apathy for the band’s new stylistic endeavours; the few that aren’t dancing are listening mindfully and nodding rhythmically. The band is also having a blast, like kids playing with their new toys, their excitement is instantly contagious for both old and new fans.
A bit more than an hour after the gig began, the band says thanks and goodbye with Blue Clouds, a Modeselektor cover. After a set of almost exclusively new material, Vessels fans don’t leave unsatisfied. It’s refreshing to know that bands can still take such risks and get away with it. Their live performance supports their renewed statement, fitting bravely among similar acts, and striking everyone as fresh in its approach, yet familiar in its creative curiosity. It is a reminder that less guitar does not necessarily mean less of what has always made the group great.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Vessels and other future events visit here.
Watch the video for Echo In here: