”Massive guitar solos, crashing drums and strong, dazzling basslines were combining to create some of the coolest coastal rock that I have certainly heard”
Arriving at a venue where doors have not opened on time is always a bit of a pain, and leaves a nasty taste in your mouth for the evening ahead. Thankfully, with such a vibrant and diverse lineup at Bowker’s album launch show, said nasty taste vanished surprisingly quickly.
Samuel Kirk was first to take to the stage at The Lomax, bringing with him three separate instruments – a bass drum, a bass guitar and a banjo-ukelele (yes, they actually exist). Combined with incredible vocal command, Kirk created an elegant blues-folk sound reminiscent of early Fleet Foxes. I can’t recall the last time I felt such excitement about such a small band, a sentiment the crowd certainly seemed to concur with.
Path Unknown were next to enter the limelight. Visually, each band member looks like they’re from a completely different genre/musical period. Looks, however, are somewhat misleading. Path Unknown certainly had their stuff together sonically, using pop-rock as a basis to explore other genres. Energetically bouncing around the stage, “Masters and Slaves” was a memorable moment of the night. Powerful electric guitars, an incredibly funky acoustic guitar line and a particularly solid drummer helped build on Kirk’s foundation, ensuring the strength of the lineup wasn’t about to falter.
By now, the crowd had met its max amount. For a band with only around 300 Facebook likes, Bowker haven’t done too badly, pulling in a crowd easily exceeding fifty people. The three-piece finally take the stage, and my first thought upon seeing them is “my, what finely dressed chaps”. Clad in dinner suits and bow ties, they are engaging and appreciative of the crowd that has showed up to hear their debut album, Sail To The Deep, in full. For a concept album, Bowker sure do cover a multitude of genres in the ten new tracks. “My Father’s Vessel”, a heavy rock number is awesome both in its scale and sound. “The Dream (Valentina Pt. 2)” however is incredibly ambient, drenched in reverb and featuring a guest female vocalist. Massive guitar solos, crashing drums and strong, dazzling basslines were combining to create some of the coolest coastal rock that I have certainly heard.
Audience participation became necessary during “Row” a Black Sabbath-esque number, which was being filmed by a small crew. Holding up a number of wave-shaped objects, the audience set the scene, alongside a couple of green tubes that resembled seaweed rising onto the edge of the stage. Who needs Subterrania when you have this?
Following difficulties with a monitor, the band came to a finish with “Open Water, Pt.2”. Reminiscent of Muse’s “Thoughts Of A Dying Athiest”, crunchy guitar palm-muting and monumental chords threw Bowker into an awe-inspiring light. With such a wide appreciation of musical experimentation under their belt in the time limit of a single album, this show begs the question of what the band will be up to next. Good job, fellas.
Sail To The Deep will be released on 24th November via Searching For Dandelions.
Words: Luke Halls