Syd Arthur | Live Review
Syd Arthur @ Exchange, Bristol. 20.08.15
Playing in a small dark room, only the disco ball strung from the ceiling alluded to the fun and psychedelic sounds they are known for.
Following two successful albums and an Americana jaunt to record across the pond, Syd Arthur, the Canterbury four-piece made their way southwest to brighten up a miserable August day with their kinetic and thoughtful sound. Though not promoting a new album — one is expected next year — the setlist was one of music new and old, revealing that their new stuff is reassuringly just as good.
A special mention should go out to support act Hot Feet, with Marianne Parish’s unassuming yet captivating vocals and her guitar firmly in hand they steadily built an intimate atmosphere, particularly with the quite awesome ‘Three Black Crosses’ that closed their set. They engrossed a truly mixed bag of audience members setting them up for Syd Arthur.
They made their way past the merch stand and through the audience to the stage. This gave a novice and homely feel for a band whose previous performance in the UK was a charismatic set at British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park back in June.
Playing in a small dark room, only the disco ball strung from the ceiling alluded to the fun and psychedelic sounds they are known for. They enlightened the audience with a precisely-focussed but always fun set list. And though not overly chatty, the guys were humble, making several ‘thank you’s to the audience for spending the evening with them.
Starting with tracks from 2013’s ‘On an On’ and last year’s ‘Sound Mirror’, they announced mid-way through the set: “We’ve been writing a lot this year, so here is a new one for you,” as we were treated to a hand full of new tracks. In particular, ‘Evolution’ really resonated, capitalising on the intensity that had been initiated by Hot Feet. Later on, ‘Raven Bush’ introduced the violin, which settled perfectly at the latter end of the set and was succeeded by a lengthy but strangely enjoyable instrumental, which did volumes to prove the high level of skill that this band has.
Syd Arthur gave a rousing show, though it’s likely that their music is better suited an outdoor festival under the sun. So for the lucky ones who were heading to see them at Green Man Festival later that week, you were surely in for a treat.
Check out a live version of ‘Chariots’ here: