Beyond the Redshift Festival 2014 Live Review from The Forum, Kentish Town, May 10th

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Beyond The Redshift 2014 Festival Header Image

Words by Matt Hill and Jamie Giberti, photos by Jamie Giberti.

As far as the last few years ago, the amount of new music festivals that the UK has seen come (and in many cases go) is almost innumerable. Occasionally from the glut of new events certain ones rise from the pack to become events of true interest and London’s newest one day festival, Beyond The Redshift had a line-up to cause interest in spades. Notwithstanding the fact it had been curated (and was being headlined by) by post-metal icons Cult Of Luna, they had assembled an incredibly diverse annd impressive array of diverse noise, ambient, black metal, post-metal and post-rock acts virtually never before seen outside of Roadburn. Rock Sins counted ourselves truly privileged to be in Kentish Town in North London to witness the entirety of Beyond The Redshift first hand….

Kicking things off in The Forum for Beyond The Redshift was Amenra guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove’s solo project Syndrome (6). A slow burning performance which gradually built up over the near thirty minute set, Syndrome’s music projects a very encompassing feeling, at times equally suited to background music and for being something much more immersive. Combined with the array of video imagery used alongside the performance, this was exactly the sort of thing one might have expected to see at Beyond The Redshift. Quite enjoyable it was too. At the conclusion of Syndrome’s performance the rest of Amenra joined Mathieu on stage and after some hasty reorganisation and the deploying of the dry ice Amenra launched into full flow. Unfortunately Rock Sins only caught a few minutes of Amenra’s performance but what was seen was very enjoyable.

After interviews with Cult Of Luna’s creative mastermind Johannes Persson and God Seed’s King Ov Hell (both coming soon here on Rock Sins) it was time to witness the legendary Justin Broadrick in the flesh as Jesu took to the Redshift stage. The next few bands that took to the stage in The Forum have all had individual reviews dedicated to them, so the links to our coverage of Jesu, God Is An Astronaut and God Seed can all be found and enjoyed below:

Jesu
God Is An Astronaut
God Seed

It has to be remembered that there was also quality music taking place elsewhere other than The Forum as part of Beyond The Redshift, with a prime example being the appearance of Bossk (7) at The Dome in Tufnell Park. The recent resurrection of one of the UK’s best post-metal bands has been extremely popular, and there was a sizeable crowd eager to catch them at Redshift. They didn’t disappoint either, with their forty minute set the perfect blend of ambience and heaviness, coupled with some fairly heavy incense use across the stage so that it was a full sensory experience for anyone down the front. Heads banged throughout and the cheers were louder after every song. On this evidence it seems like Bossk never went away, but there are an awful lot of people happy they are back.

Due to schedules running late as they often do at such events, Rock Sins caught a bonus performance in the shape of Thought Forms (7). A very unique three piece act from the UK comprising drummer Guy Metcalfe and guitarists Deej Dhariwal and Charlie Romijn who also share vocal duties, their sound has an intriguing ambient quality which draws the listener in. There are periods of ferocious heaviness mixed in as well reminiscent of Rolo Tomassi, and their songs are assembled in such a way that most of the time the listener isn’t quite sure what is coming next. All of these elements added up to a highly enjoyable thirty minute long set, and Thought Forms are very likely to have picked up a good amount of new fans on the day.

One of the most anticipated performances of the day for Rock Sins was the appearance of Australian post-rock quartet Sleepmakeswaves (9), a recent discovery at Rock Sins. Despite coming on late, there was a good sized crowd in attendance and they were not disappointed. From the first note to the last Sleepmakeswaves were phenomenal. The intensity of the performance, in particular from guitarist Otto Wicks-green was palpable from the audience as all four band members gave everything they had. Sleepmakeswaves are one of the freshest sounding bands to come along in the post-rock world for years and their songs translate even better in a live setting than they do on record. Their set was far too short and left the audience wanting more in the best possible way. If Sleepmakeswaves play a show near you they are a must see band.

As the main event of Beyond The Redshift drew ever closer, and the time was coming to bid Cult Of Luna a live farewell, at least for the time being, this review is being handed back over to Matt, who’s been a fan of Cult Of Luna for a very long time indeed. Over to you Matthew….

By the time the main-event builds up, I for one am absolutely shattered. I haven’t been trudging between venues, nor have I been here all day so I’m sure there are others faring much worse, but it’s been a long day regardless. Normally that might take the edge of the experience, but not when Cult Of Luna (9) are about to take to the stage.

Cult Of Luna are a band that I got into a very long time ago; in fact, they were one of the first bands outside of the traditional realms and obligations of generic ‘metal’ that I felt a strong connection to. The first song of theirs I’d heard was ‘The Watchtower’, and though I’d seen and met the band a few times before (including an absolutely ear-crushing performance at the Camden Barfly), it was a certainty that this performance was going to be special.

Earlier on in the day, Jim and I had the great pleasure to speak at length with the ‘captain’ Johannes, who not only started the band, but has remained the active visionary and leader since it’s inception. Since Klas left after their 2010 release ‘Eternal Kingdom’, Johannes has also been performing main vocals but this evening was special as not only were old, and to be departing, members present, but Klas himself was back for select shows on their tour. The stage is completely cleared for Cult of Luna’s set and with drum-risers for each of their two drummers (both Thomas and Magnus) you know this is going to be heavy.

As with many other bands of the past and present, including both Jesu and God Is An Astronaut earlier, it isn’t just the music that’s performed. There is a presence and a visual experience that seamlessly, and in Cult of Luna’s case perfectly, matches the sonic one. A myriad of awesomely beautiful light changes envelop the band, who’s shadowed outlines thrash and writhe to the towering wall of dark, quasi-chorded music. The contrast of light and dark juxtapose each other in a demonstration that a lot of effort and talent has gone in to creating this show, both band and crew alike.

For this, I’m sitting in the Press Area on the balcony looking down on the band as they tear through numbers off latest releases (and if as discussed in our interview, possibly last for a while) ‘Vertikal’ and ‘Vertikal II (EP)’ they eventually bring Klas (and Gaahl!) out for a melting performance of ‘Ghost Trail’ before an incredible recital of ‘The Watchtower’. A mix of tracks from all albums, including ‘Beyond Fate’ from the debut, follow and the crowd is blown to bits. This is a really special evening, following an awesome and unique day festival curated by the band that are rightly headlining.

Cult Of Luna’s Setlist Was:

The Sweep
Light Chaser
I : The Weapon
Ghost Trail **
The Watchtower *
Beyond Fate *
Eternal Kingdom *
Genesis *
Vague Illusions *
Dark City, Dead Man
Passing Through
Disharmonia
In Awe Of *
Leave Me Here *
* w/ Klas
** w/ Klas & Gaahl (GOD SEED)

Regardless of your opinion on music, I would wager it hard for any skeptic to not find something appealing of the music and live showings of Cult of Luna, especially in the right environment. The acoustics in The Forum again sound good and the day draws a close after what really has been a success. Jim and I discussed early in the day on how impressed we were at the turn-out. No sets (at The Forum, at least) are without a generous number of spectators and certainly none that appear anything other than chuffed.

Beyond the Redshift has been, on all counts, a resoundingly brilliant experience and as far as we are both concerned a finely executed one. Both the atmosphere and the line-up have been unique, and an event we think all in attendance would love to see repeated in future years. Please check out our exclusive gallery of photos from throughout Beyond The Redshift as well below: