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To The Edge of The Earth

The Phantom Band/Woodenbox With A Fistful of Fivers – Electric Circus, 24th August 2010

I reckon that Tuesday night at the Electric Circus was the eighth time I’ve seen the Phantom Band in the last 3 years. Which probably comes very close to elevating me to stalker status.

Tuesday’s  Edge Festival performance wasn’t the best show I’ve seen from the Phantoms but, with three new songs in the near 70 minute set, it was more than worth the trip to Auld Reekie.

The Electric Circus isn’t my favourite venue but the chaise longue is missing and worries over the sound were largely without foundation. Certainly, the first couple of numbers ‘Crocodile’ and ‘Folk Song Oblivion’, which on another night would have been amongst the highlights, never quite caught fire due to an initially haphazard mix. But from then on things improved substantially.

Highlights included a staggering ‘Left Hand Wave’ complete with an extended mid section with added crunching guitars and probably the best live version of ‘Island’ I’ve heard. There’s also a brilliant closing ‘Throwing Bones’ whilst ‘The Howling’, which they don’t always play was given a welcome outing.

The most impressive things about the 3 new songs (no titles) is that they sound nothing like the tunes on the first album.

The first song they played featured some tight harmonies and the third after a quite couple of verses sprang to life with a bubbly synth riff. Only the middle new song rocked out to any degree and that was after a slow build up in the first two thirds of the song.

Fascinatingly the heavy sound of the first LP didn’t feature at all on the new songs although, with another 6 or 7 songs to be unveiled, it’s certainly more than possible that it hasn’t disappeared completely.

Support came from the much less intense Woodenbox and A Fistful of Fivers. I’ve seen them before but don’t remember them playing with a three piece brass section then.

But, even if they’re not quite my thing, they were an enjoyable enough distraction for their half a dozen songs. I’ve heard the LP and a couple of the songs were instantly recognisable which isn’t a bad thing.

But perhaps the most notable thing about the show was that the guy who emerged from the soundcheck with his arm in a sling and a number of fingers bandaged turned out be the drummer. And he still played!


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