Russian Circles

Russian Circles


It’s always a good vibe when a band you dig announce a tour with an equally excellent support, so tonight I excitedly make it down nice and early to see Indiana based three piece Cloakroom open up for instrumental mavericks Russian Circles.

Cloakroom is a name I’ve heard a lot over the years but I’d never fully given them a go until quite recently. There’s been quite a bit of speculation, even anger, from the YouTube warriors trying to figure out what genre this band are. I mean, who gives a fuck really? They mash emo, shoegaze, grunge and stoner rock into this big beautiful melting pot. Why should a band be defined by one label, right?

Anyway, their set tonight is glorious. A friend of mine who saw them the previous night in Bristol told me to prepare to be hugged by a big blanket of fuzz and that is exactly whats happens. I just love how they meld these beautiful reverb soaked melodies with big, slow and sludgy breakdowns that are as a loud and proud as you can imagine. They prove that going heavy can also be pretty with tracks like ‘Paperweight’ and ‘Big World’ taking me to another planet of fuzzy wonder. Basically, Cloakroom are the real deal and make me overcome with that zen feeling.

Now its onto the big boys. Chicago trio Russian Circles have become a cult act in the post-rock/post-metal scenes over the years and there’s no surprise that the room tonight is packed out to see them as part of this sizable UK/European tour that they’re currently on. The tour is in support of their sixth album Guidance, which was released in the autumn of last year and has been coined by some as a career best so it makes tonight even more exciting as it is a huge sounding record full of thunderous riffs!

The band begin with the new album’s opening two track assault ‘Asa’ and ‘Vorel’. Well, I say assault – ‘Asa’ is a beautiful guitar driven intro with bassist Brian Cook taking to the baritone guitar to interlock melodically with lead guitarist Mike Sullivan. It’s a really pretty start but it soon ascends into the doomy stomp of ‘Vorel’ as drummer Dave Turncrantz comes in hard, bashing the fuck out of his floor toms.

All three members of this band are totally powerhouse musicians and a pleasure to watch weave in and out of post-rock soundscapes and doomed out breakdowns. Dave is a particular joy to behold as his hits each drum with brute force and cements some really strong grooves throughout. The crowd are totally lost in the sounds being created and there is a real sense of euphoria when tracks like ‘Deficit’ and ‘Afrika’ build into huge walls of sound. The beatdown in the former track is particularly thrilling and ensues a fuck load of headbanging. It’s pretty funny to see my friends squirm in the fear of being wacked in the face by a mane of greasy long hair from the bloke in front headbanging his life away!

I sometimes find that I lose interest a bit when I see these more proggy instrumental bands live but Russian Circles really hold my attention tonight with a plethora of exciting compositions and powerhouse performances. They have this really strong, confident presence on stage that you can’t help but be engulfed by. All in all, tonight has been a delightful evening of sonic splendor that makes me want to be play with fuzz and reverb pedals and start a doom-gaze band!

Russian Circles: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.