‘The adventure of the Soul Sister who ventured into the world of Post-Rock’
By Heather Wall
One thing I thought I’d never do is go to a metal gig, but yesterday when my friend Alex told me his band were playing in a local pub, I could resist seeing what they were like. To be honest, the band actually wasn’t a ‘metal’ band – what we were really seeing was ‘post-rock’ – that assumption was the first of my many mistakes of the night.
I called Sian, my neighbor and more-like-family friend, who is my ‘go to’ when I have something random I want to do, and after a big bowl of North African stew with my family, we set off for The Catch on Kingsland Road. A little pub/restaurant with a gig room situated up a dark and dingy spiral staircase. We arrived for the second band, The Travis Waltons. In theory I liked them, though the vocals were a little shifty, and Sian and I decided to come back for Talons.
When we first bumped into Alex, the friend I’d gone to see, I thought that his recent return from university in California had warped his perceptions of English weather, as he was wearing a baggy t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. I was wrong. The band consisted of two violinists, two guitarists, a bassist and Alex on drums. As the band began to play it was clear that the sound engineer hadn’t realised how loud the music was. We were all going to leave with burst eardrums! I went over to the sound engineer to tell him that I felt like I was being blasted with string wind through the speakers at the front. In retrospect I’m glad he ignored me and didn’t let me tell him it was too loud, as I soon realised that this was a post-rock thing. It’s meant to blast. Right.
A completely instrumental group, Talons are led by the guitar and violins. I was quite familiar with the form, beginning with one or two sounds, building up and up and eventually dropping into head-banging bliss. This is why Alex was in shorts – it looked like playing the drums was more of a work-out than gentle accompaniment. They had a huge amount of energy and exuberance which emanated from themselves as a tight singular unit. Their sound was strong. They locked in well with each other, and coming from my modest, clueless perspective I enjoyed it. I liked that there were no vocals, which quite frankly would have taken away from the instrumentalism. I liked the structure of the songs, which meant that as someone who is really not a metal fan, I could lock in and understand the language of the music. They were passionate about the music, and the presence of a clear melody carried by either the guitar or the two violins made it a pleasant and actually rather easy listen.
Am I converted? No. But would I like to go to another of The Talons’ gigs? Absolutely.