White Fence


The idea of amassing a selection of bands a few clicks off normal appears to pay off as the White Hotel’s ‘performance room’ slowly starts to fill to capacity in time for the headliner/non-set closer White Fence. I had the suspicion that carting out a load of bands on a half hour set each was a cynical ploy (eerily similar to another gig I covered back in June) to boost the attendance rate; suppose it doesn’t really matter as the majority of the acts were of sufficient quality and fitted with the venue’s DIY/post-industrial rehabilitation chic.

White Fence display a varying degree of influences, from paisley musings to what even sounds like a half baked southern rock instrumental, in addition to the obligatory funk showcase, as if to highlight range or shackle the psych label in a cheap kind of way. Bending of strings, ‘Interstellar Overdrive’-emulation and/or malfunctioning zippers aside, the band’s set slowly starts to suffer as it feels as though the inferior cuts regulated to the back were now, much like a depleted vending machine, coming to the forefront. The dynamics are at least interesting alongside some of the guitar interplay but overall it doesn’t really stand out, the envelope remaining stationary.

With the headline act over, two more acts curiously follow, a kind of epilogue veering past prime time. ESYA, consists of a singular performer on vocals, synth and rhythm machines performed her set to a diminished audience; hamstrung by personnel limitations, the kind of intensity you’d want from a mains-reliant performer (i.e. MIF’s recent showcase) isn’t exactly here. Some of the synthesiser sounds remind me nostalgically of the Twilight Princesses soundtrack, but that isn’t quite enough to save the overall lack of depth behind what I assume is a side project.

With the graveyard set in full swing, the final performers congregate on a stage seemingly emitting its own in-house mist effect. Presumably by their growing esteem, The Starlight Magic Hour appears to reverse the dwindling audience numbers, a sort of second coming that takes the event off life-support. As their set starts, it almost resembles a first time rehearsal taking place with simultaneous omnipotent coordination, an instrumental oxymoron of sorts; they appear more interested in serving a song, indirectly evading the gilded pedestal of indulgence as is common with merry-men collective-type bands.

Certainly at times it comes across as a little busy, but the reciprocity of guitars and overlapping vocalists place the possibility of disinteresting moments into a far away, undisclosed location. The set is sadly plagued by sound issues like the intermittent hornet-like buzzing and insufficient amplification for the auxiliary instruments (violin, flute/clarinet entity thing, etc), highlighted by the fact that I didn’t even know they had a saxophone player in their collective inventory until he transposed near the front later on; though the blame lies on the sound engineers/over-active smoke machines. Regardless, their format feels more progressive than many of their contemporaries… which is a good thing.

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Angus Rolland

Recent career decisions have compelled me into the journalistic... thing; I could list my literary influences or even debate which 3rd rate beverage has the best economic value per litre (But I won’t). Oh, in addition, I write reviews for the Independents Network.