Lanterns On The Lake: Bristol – live review

Lanterns On The Lake
Rise Records, Bristol
8th October 2013

With their new album, ‘Until The Colours Run’, hot off the press, Lanterns On The Lake are playing semi-acoustic sets all over the country, at their favourite record shops. Philip Allen is reviewing the album later this week, so went along to Rise Records to hear the new material live.

At the back of the coffee shop that leases the ground floor, the stage area is laden with some of the nicest equipment I have seen in a while. A big red semi-acoustic guitar, a Nord Lead keyboard, a beautiful wooden Harmonium and so many fx pedals, they cover the floor leaving little space for the band to tip toe round into position. Lead singer, Hazel is brimming with North west wit and charm as she jokes about being in the cupboard (dressing room) for a while which lightens the mood. I notice local talent Oliver Wilde helming the sound desk at the back of the shop. Oliver is opening up the Simple Things Festival at The Colston Hall this Saturday at 1pm, be sure to check him out.

Back onstage, the band begin a seven song set amidst a few sound issues, but through the crackling and hum they play, ‘Picture Show’ off the new album. The guitarist’s use of the violin bow to conjure the textures from it’s big red body looks epic as each member giving the core melodies a reflective twist. The addition of the violin in their music has always added a folky quality, but this is far from folk as you know it. ‘Another Tale From Another English Town’ has a melancholy vein running through it and it is intrinsic to their vibe and with the delicate features of Hazel’s voice, a dreamy landscape is created where the sea plays a strong thematic role. Hailing from the Newcastle, the North East becomes almost a character within influencing the song geography profoundly.


‘My Kingdom’ off the ‘Misfortunes & Minor Victories’ EP and ‘Ships In The Rain’, off their debut album, ‘Gracious Tide, Take Me Home’ finds them settling in to what must be a relatively awkward setting, nonetheless, a lovely airy warmth is added to their sound with the use of the the Melodium and even though the soaring violin and playful guitar are slightly damped by the environment, these stripped down versions are breathtaking.

Hazel is left alone onstage for a haunting version of, ‘Gold & Green’ with the added accompaniment of some sort of alarm that is softly sounding by the stage. It never detracts from the performance, unexpectedly adding a ‘found sound’ element to what are incredibly well written songs. When they play, ‘The Buffalo Days’ & ‘Until The Colours Run’ there are tones of late eighties/early nineties band, The Sundays. It feels as if they are taking you on a journey over sea and mountain, looking down at the landscape in dizzy awe. I can’t wait to see their show at the Thekla on the 17th October and experience the full journey.

The semi-acoustic shows continue calling in at these great record shops:

13th Oct – Edinburgh Avalanche at 1pm.
18th Oct – Portsmouth Pie & Vinyl at 6pm.
23rd Oct – Brighton Resident at 6.30pm.
24th Oct – Oxford Truck at 6pm.

Their full tour begins this week also:

10th Oct – Newcastle @ Think Tank.
11th Oct – Leeds @ Brudenell.
12th Oct – Berwick Upon Tweed @ The Maltings, Frontier Festival.
13th Oct – Edinburgh @ Electric Circus.
14th Oct – Sheffield @ The Harley.
15th Oct – Manchester @ Deaf Institute.
16th Oct – Birmingham @ Hare & Hounds.
17th Oct – Bristol @ Thekla.
19th Oct – Exeter @ The Cavern.
20th Oct – Cardiff @ Swn Festival.
21st Oct – Cambridge @ Junction 2.
22nd Oct – London @ Bush Hall.
23rd Oct – Brighton @ The Haunt.
24th Oct – Oxford @ Bullingdon.
13th Nov – Liverpool @ The Kazimier.
14th Nov – Glasgow @ King Tut’s.
15th Nov – Aberdeen @ The Tunnels.


Lanterns On The Lake be found at their website and at their Facebook and  Twitter pages.

All words by Philip Allen. More work by Philip can be found in his Louder Than War archive.

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