Chicago based math-rockers Joan Of Arc paid Liverpool a visit on the back of their record Testimonium Songs released earlier this year, and with the only other UK dates being in London, Leeds and Glasgow, it was to be a rare chance to hear the new tracks first hand. The band’s unique and highly influential take on fabricating music, coupled with Tim Kinsella’s vocals and cryptic lyrics, bode well for the intimate feel of The Kazimier. The crowd were prepared for a night of off-kilter satisfaction, and this is exactly what they duly received.
Glossom opened the night with a stunning set of tracks which rewarded them with at least one new fan among the assembled. The six-piece, complete with trumpet and sax, exuded a sense of quiet confidence and their melodic, profound compositions were set to match. Antony Kastelanides’ vocals accentuated the gorgeous instrumentation perfectly, these guys quickly becoming my favourite new band. Next up were Muto Leo, who similarly set the tone with their intricate post-math tunes. Switching between shoegaze and Antidotes’ era Foals styles of play, the lack of a vocalist mattered little and The Kazimier was slowly filling up more as we got closer to the headline act. Before that however we had one more performance, namely Spring King. Straight up British punk was fired at the bobbing heads at the front, and despite the more predictable feel and arrogant stage presence, again it was hard to seriously fault.
Leaving their merch stall, which they had been attending for the past hour or so, and appearing on stage in pieces, Joan Of Arc opened with ‘Explain Yourselves #2,’ a spoken-word and drum piece, before bassist Bobby Burg joined Kinsella and drummer Theo Katsaounis onstage as the track gathered momentum. The band proceeded to play a set which at times threw the crowd into confusion, at other times into a frenzy of jigging and head waggling. Testimonium Songs had a varied response, with extended tracks such as ‘The Bird’s Nest Wrapped Around The Security Camera’ causing some members of the crowd to lose focus, whereas ‘Mosaic Of Bolts’ garnered a far more positive reaction. Elsewhere, tracks such as ‘King Song’ from the self-titled acoustic LP released last year demanded attention due to Kinsella’s ability to do soft as well as harsh vocals. Currently performing as a three-piece, there was no sense of emptiness or anything lacking during the set, exhibiting perfectly the tight musicianship Joan Of Arc can proudly boast. As the band closed their set with the refrain ‘thank you sorry,’ elevated by crowd contributions, it was with regret that the gig had to end. What was presented tonight was a series of bands who had imagination, creativity and passion, led by the most imaginative, creative and passionate of the lot.