Jane Weaver


Jane Weaver’s new album, Modern Kosmology, is an absolute belter, high up on album of the year list good – I personally think it’s a step up from her Piccadilly Records album of 2014 The Silver Globe. The first thing I heard from it was the sublime ‘Slow Motion’ when I was presenting this site’s very own radio show (Saturdays, 5-7pm, on MCR is Live, wireless fans): it’s a gorgeous slice of pulsating electro pop, and it’s as good as anything else on a brilliant album. I’ve also seen Weaver perform once before this year too, at Bristol’s excellent Simple Things festival. She came on just after midnight, in a small, ornate room in Colston Hall, and even though your reviewer may have been slightly ‘refreshed’ by that point in proceedings, I was mesmerised by how good she was, her band pushing the motorik grooves on as Weaver led thrillingly from the front.

However, tonight just doesn’t recapture the magic of that performance for me. Whether it’s due to the much bigger environment of the Ritz, or maybe it’s that the crowd for some reason don’t seem that into it, there’s just something missing. The songs, mostly taken from Modern Kosmology, stand up on their own. The opening salvo of ‘H>A>K’, ‘Did You See The Butterflies?’, ‘Modern Kosmology’ and the aforementioned, still unbelievable ‘Slow Motion’ was quite the way to open things up, Weaver in a sequinned jacket, looking and sounding resplendent, her band once again as tight as anything I’ve heard, the smile on my face a mile wide. Yet there’s something not quite right about the whole thing, there’s no…drama to it all. It feels like Weaver could pull off a big, dramatic production, her music lends itself to it, something more akin to the stunning visuals on the screen above the band. Yet it all feels a bit lacklustre, not really matching up to the brilliant songs coming from the stage. Don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means boring, and it’s great to hear the propulsive krautrock, psych whirling of songs like ‘The Architect’, but I want to be thrilled by what I’m seeing as well as what I’m hearing.

As if to acknowledge that the crowd isn’t exactly enthralled, Weaver announces ‘The Electric Mountain’ as “one you might know”, and it is greeted with a bit more enthusiasm from some sections of the audience, which is a shame given the strength of her new LP. The majority of that album is given a run out, ‘The Lightning Back’ a stone cold stunner, Weaver’s voice sounding absolutely gorgeous, as the bubbling synths and strict drum patterns push her along, I close my eyes for a while and it feels like I’m floating. For ‘Mission Desire’, Weaver straps a guitar on and for a moment there are 5 band members all wielding a 6 or 4 string and it’s powerful and exciting; more moments like this would have been hugely welcome.

An encore of the 8 minute wig out that is ‘Argent’ again provides a bit more umph to the evening, but I leave with a sense of frustration at an opportunity missed. Weaver and her band, technically, are flawless and don’t put a foot wrong, yet I’d have liked to have seen something a bit bigger for this huge stage she’s found herself on. By no means a disaster, but could have been so much more.

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