Kylesa @ O2 Islington Academy

with Jagged Vision and Sierra
30th January 2014
Review and photography by Graham Hilling

It’s a pretty empty Islington Academy that greets me tonight despite a sensible start time and a truly international line up. Still, opening band Jagged Vision aren’t going to let the small crowd dampen their enthusiasm or the amount of energy they’re pouring into their performance.

Jagged Vision
Jagged Vision

With scissor kicks and much perspiration this bunch of Norwegian guys really do put a lot into the show. Sporting a sound not too far removed from Kylesa themselves, (think Kylesa with a good dollop of hardcore thrown in for good measure) they have a selection of songs which are truly interesting with hooks big enough to grab your attention on the first listen.

Jagged Vision
Jagged Vision

It’s not ground breaking stuff and certainly not complicated or overly clever but definitely does have a certain earthy appeal and is full on riffage! The set is taken mainly from their debut album, “Harvest Earth” (which is out on the Retro Futurist label started by Kylesa themselves)with the whole band and in particular vocalist Ole Urke Wik giveing 100%.

Jagged Vision
Jagged Vision

“Darkness In Light” is a great example of what Jagged Vision do to trad stoner metal, inject some hardcore and pump up the speed. Great stuff and this is true of a load of the songs on display tonight.

Jagged Vision
Jagged Vision

Setlist

Thrasher
Electric Empire
Spiritual Invasion
Darkness in Light
Path of Bones
Meshuggah Cover
Shadows Glide
Trapped Forever
Palehorse

Second on the bill are Sierra from Canada. This is a 3 piece playing music that really defies pigeon holing. It’s stoner, bluesy, psychedilcy, jammy, rock. Not really the sort of stuff I would ever listen to out of choice myself to be honest but this evening these guys really did win over the crowd, myself included.

Sierra
Sierra

The songs are long and repetitive and compared to Jagged Visions furious assault they are much slower and more in standard stoner vein. The bass playing of Robbie Carvalho plays a major part in the sound with interesting lines all over the place, combined with the simple but mesmerizing guitar of Jason Taylor you find yourself nodding your head without realising you’re doing it.

Sierra
Sierra

As with Jagged Vision, this is simple stuff but well put together and skilfully arranged with some nice little flourishes on the guitar too. By the end of the set, the now swelled numbers in the crowd all appear to have been won over, like we’ve all just taken part in a Derren Brown hypnotism show, such is the impact of the music!

Sierra
Sierra

Even an effects board failure at the end of the set doesn’t dampen spirtis with Taylor unplugging himself from said board and going directly into the amp to complete the set.

Sierra
Sierra

No setlist for Sierra I’m afraid.

Kylesa themselves take to the stage without any fanfare or intro music. In typical fashion, what you see is what you get. Thankfully the Academy has now filled considerably, not full but full enough.

Kylesa
Kylesa

Starting with a screaming theremin (the only band I’ve ever seen use one) they launch into what is undoubtedly one of their best songs, “Scapegoat” from the album “Static Tensions”. The double drumming at the beginning sounding perfect before the controlled chaos that is Kylesa kicks in.

Kylesa
Kylesa

I’m not sure if the evening was running late but they complete this and immediately steam into “Unspoken”. A little bit of a wobble on the hypnotic guitar intro, played by Laura Pleasants, but by the time the song gets going properly there can be no complaints.

Kylesa
Kylesa

Next it is the full on assault of “Hollow Severer” taking us back a few years. Then back to the classic “Static Tensions” album with “Natures Predators”. At points throughout the set Phillip Cope adds some theremin to the mix and Laura Pleasants vocals are strong and full of impact.

Kylesa
Kylesa

This evening we get the first view of the new bass player, Chase Rudeseal, who has replaced Eric Hernandez who has now moved back to the drums following a brief period filling in on the bass. Rudeseal does a fine job too, looking completely at home on the stage with the rest of the band.

Kylesa
Kylesa

“We’re Taking This” with its dark undertone and driving riffage gets heads moving, “Running Red” with its’ marvellously arabic breaks soars and before we know it we’re into the final stages of the gig.

Kylesa
Kylesa

Closer “Said and Done” is a good choice, leaving the audience with something to hold onto as they head for home. Surprisingly, it’s not the best performance I’ve seen from Kylesa, they almost looked a little nervous this evening. Still a really good gig though, great support from Sierra and Jaggad Vision too.

 

Kylesa
Kylesa

Setlist

Scapegoat
Unspoken
Hollow Severer
Natures Predators
Tired Climb
Bottom Line
Quicksand
To Forget
Long Gone
Unknown Awareness
We’re Taking This
Running Red
Don’t Look Back
Said and Done

 

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