Tears Of Ishtar – Fibbers, 19/02/11

Another weekend, another trip to Fibbers. This time the bill is two bands that I last saw play (on the same bill again) back in 2007. Unfortunately, I had only just started blogging these reviews back then so details of that gig are a little sparse.

Last time around, The Falling Spikes were second on the bill. Tonight they are openers. I don’t quite remember there being so many people on stage last time. Starting off with six people on stage (I assume the six listed on the above link) they were soon joined by a seventh, mystery man who accompanied Maria Tjader on percussion as well as seeming to take the lion’s share of backing vocals.

Last time around, I wasn’t overly impressed with the music. I don’t know whether it’s my tastes or the band’s output that has changed, but I found myself enjoying it a lot more tonight. Perhaps best described as danceable psychedelia, there were hints of Hawkind and Engineers but with a lighter touch permeating the music due to the tambourines and maracas. The vocals were subjected to a fair amount of reverb and were still a little droney and monotonous, but in a way that I have now come to expect from shoegazers. Standout song was Midnight Train, the twin vocals for which provided a soaring end to the set.

The band also tried to utilise visuals in their set, with a black and white film on loop behind them. Unfortunately, the low ceiling at Fibbers meant that much of it was obscured by the shadows of the musicians.

It can’t have been too long after I saw Ishtar that the band split up (amicably). Last year, it was reformed as Tears of Ishtar and, from speaking to drummer Greg Parsons (also of RSJ), there are big plans for the new version of this post-rock/experimental/progressive band. Tonight was, I believe, only their second live performance (after last year’s appearance at the Galtres Festival) and there was high expectation from my party at least.

Tonight we were treated to a forty-five minute version of Trials of Descent, a shorter version of which can be found on the page linked above. Well, I say forty-five minutes, it turns out that the band played it slightly too fast in places (I saw one of them motioning to the others to slow down) and it eventually came in at a little over forty minutes. The performance is also split by very brief pauses, almost as though the music is split into suites, which give the audience a chance to show their appreciation throughout the music. And appreciative we were, fervently applauding music that varied so much that you could almost have been listening to a Pink Floyd/Metallica mash-up. (I’m not knowledgeable enough about the new bands that are listed as influences and have to revert back to “dinosaur rock for my references…)

The music was tight and any mistakes (I was told there was a few) weren’t noticeable by us. It was a shame that the cries for “More” weren’t answered. Who knows how long an encore we could have been treated to. If this was just a taster of things to come from the revitalised Tears of Ishtar, then I personally can’t wait.

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About Ian

Regular gig-goer in York, both to see local and touring bands. Huge music fan, with more CDs than my wife thinks any one person should own. I also collect American comics, read a lot of SF and fantasy and am a season-ticket holder at Leeds United.
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