A gig in a pub – Cephelopod, Charlotte Light and Dark and, err, Dopolehpec? @The Butler, Reading, 16/6/2012
Well, I say a pub, it was actually a pub’s ale cellar/brick barn. 50 feet long, 15 feet wide, 10 feet high, smallest venue imaginable, but it made up for it in atmosphere and, surprisingly enough, sound. There was a Marshall knocking about that helped matters, mind. The sound was so enclosed and focussed that you could hear the snare springs vibrate when certain bass notes were hit. The overall mix was thick, fantastic tones for guitar and bass, with the cymbals piercing all like a knife through flesh. The massive china that was used throughout the night was particularly penetrating. The only downside was that the bass drum wasn’t loud enough in the first set, and the vocal equipment seemed pretty knackered and/or overwhelmed.
The pub itself was rather pleasant – nice big enclosed garden, a fair range of real ales available. Only downside was that it was a good 45 minutes from home, but hey, it was a free gig, I was out with mates and I was avoiding the noise pollution from the extortionately expensive summer ball put on by the Students Union up on the campus. So, pub and bands it was!
So, first, ‘Dopolehpec’ – basically, Cephelopod, the headliners, playing post-metal/doom jams, rather than the usual avant-thrash material. It was quite bizarre, really, being introduced to Cephelopod, a band I have been aware of in Reading for years but never seen, via a set far removed from their usual genre smorgasbord approach. They proved a rather fine post-metal power trio, mind, producing four varied and explorative pieces of music, all of which had hooks, melody, technicality and individual skill in plentiful supply. This, as you might imagine, made me rather excited to see what they would do with their ‘own’ set, as it were.
Charlotte Light and Dark, the ‘support’ band, were a pretty good affair as well. Vocal problems rendered them an instrumental band after a few songs, but their Dillinger Escape Plan inflected material remained engaging enough without a throat on top. They had also travelled a long way from various realms for what I believe was their first ever gig, so good on them!
Now, Cephelopod themselves…
Well, words fail really. A tremendously talented trio, dual vocals from bassist and guitarist, delivering thrash-death with all sorts of jazzy, folksy elements folded into the mix. A fantastic, at times incomprehensible melange of styles and approaches, but never, ever boring. Tremendous crowd response, a great deal of humour and self-deprecation – a fine headline slot, all told. I even wound up chatting to a vintage metalhead who had noticed by Peaceville 3 20th anniversary gig shirt. Apparently he had been to some sort of Peaceville party waay back in the day, where At The Gates, My Dying Bride, Darkthrone and more played. Not jealous at all… :p
So yes, a good night out, all told. If you ever have the opportunity to catch Cephelopod or Charlotte (unlikely with Ceph, as they only gig once in a blue moon), do so, you will not be disappointed.