The Cathode Ray / A Modern Masquerade – ‘Infinite Variety’ LP Launch – The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh – Thursday 14th May 2015
One of my regrets over the last few years is that I’d not managed to catch the Cathode Ray live properly. Certainly last month’s Record Store Day performance was pretty good but I didn’t manage to catch a proper Cathode Ray show until Thursday’s album launch at the Voodoo Rooms. It was worth the wait.
‘Infinite Variety’ is already one of my favourite albums of the year drawing on the band’s post-punk influences but mixing these up with a range of new influences so it was no surprise that the live show was just as good mixing old songs and new.
‘Backed Up’ is an effective first track on the record and its live incarnation worked at least as well to open the show. The low key intro drew the audience in for that exquisite technicolour explosion midway through. The band were off and running immediately launched into their recent, frantic, single ‘Resist’.
The rest of the set drew from both albums and the first (non-LP) single, ably demonstrating that the Cathode Ray have plenty of great material to fit into an hour.
Both sides of the debut single were given an airing with set closer ‘What’s It All About?’ sounding massive and several levels above the recorded version. Choice cuts from the debut LP included a ferocious ‘Patience Is A Virtue’ and the wonderful ‘Train’ whilst, of the new material, ‘Don’t Waste Your Words’ and ‘Nowhere At All’ were highlights.
It was still a bit of a surprise that some of my favourite tracks from the new record didn’t make the cut – no ‘Buck The Trend’ nor ‘This Force of Nature’ (both surely candidates for future singles) whilst the biggest disappointment was that epic album closer ‘Saving Grace’ wasn’t included (its absence apparently due to the band not having quite nailed it in rehearsals yet.)
It helps of course to have such an experienced all round band but there’s no doubting the key role that be-shaded guitarist Steve Fraser plays on stage. Whilst his parts were based on those on the record they certainly weren’t intended to replicate it note for note lending the show a little bit of unpredictability.
Called back to the stage after ‘What’s It All About?’, Jeremy admitted that they’d played all the songs that they knew so the band ripped through an impressive repeat of ‘Resist’ to finish.
This may have been the band’s first gig in two and a half years but it certainly didn’t show and I certainly hope it won’t be long before I get the chance to catch them live again.
A Modern Masquerade
Unfortunately I wanted to like the much younger support A Modern Masquerade more than I did. A three piece most of the songs featured voice, guitar and drums although, for some, the singer supplied additional guitar.
They’re very much in that vein of heavy, slightly edgy, ever so slightly bluesy rock that is in vogue just now. In such a set-up the guitar plays a key role and it certainly helps them that the guitarist is extremely talented equally happy throwing out chunky riffs or playing some of the more fiddly bits.
For all that there’s plenty to admire in their performance they’re not quite my thing but nevertheless were not a bad way to pass half an hour.
The Cathode Ray setlist:
1. Backed Up 2. Resist 3. Lost and Found 4. The Eyes Are The Window To The Soul 5. Train 6. Don’t Waste Your Words 7. Around 8. Mind 9. Patience Is A Virtue 10. Nowhere At All 11. Get A Way 12. What’s It All About?
The Cathode Ray’s second LP ‘Infinite Variety’ is out now on Stereogram Recordings.
A second single from the album, ‘Buck The Trend’ is released on 1st June.
A Modern Masquerade’s debut single ‘In The Bad Books’ is out now. More info here.