Lanterns On The Lake
The Thekla, Bristol
17th October 2013
Newcastle’s Lanterns On The Lake are back in Bristol having played a great in store gig at Rise Records recently (review here), this time for a full on gig that punters actually have to pay to get in to see! All photos by Valerio Berdini.
The release of their second album, ‘Let The Colours Run’ (review here) has put them back on the map after a rocky period recording the ubiquitous second album, and in the hull of an old fishing boat on the waters of the harbour side (for such is The Thekla), the Lanterns seem to have found their thematic home.
Lanterns are essentially an ‘indie’ band, even though the term is defunct these days unless it’s being co-opted to give boy bands street cred. Thirty years ago, it meant the world to those who truly wanted the ‘alternative’ to the mainstream. Everything has gone ‘tits up’ for ‘indie’ as we drown in the sea of wafer thin, major label fashion whores. Independent spirit on the other hand is alive and well. The current re-shaping of the music industry has forced those bands to be their own bosses, promote themselves and affiliate with amazingly authentic underground record labels such as Bella Union that put out simply amazing music, irrelevant of it’s market share.
Their peers, such as, Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Ros, have managed to retain a control and mystique over their career and it seems that Lanterns are also trying to stay fiercely true to theirselves. It is a hard path to walk, one beset with pitfalls and traps but the integrity gained by ‘being your own bosses’ is priceless. Their ‘on stage,’ demure yet alluringly dry-witted approach finds them opening with, ‘Picture Show’ and when the violin soars over the ‘bowed’ guitar (playing an electric guitar with a violin bow) it all sounds rather epic here inside the belly of a boat. ‘Elodie’ bursts into life filling the stage with their pent-up fury, performing big brush strokes of sound that surround the mellow verses tender introspection. The band find their pace with older tracks like ‘A Kingdom’ and ‘Ships In The Rain’ brim with tension and the sort of melodies that stick in your brain.
The new material is sounding fantastic with some hefty volume, their dynamics become that much more dynamic. Current single, ‘Another Tale From Another English Town’ shines with their collective talent, whilst ‘The Ghost That Sleeps In Me’ creaks and groans with the crackling of surface noise until it’s soaring effortless release. ‘Buffalo Days’ highlights Paul Gregory’s guitar playing as he raises the tones from his instrument whilst accommodating Hazel Wilde’s dainty lyrics. After the encore, the piano led, ‘Green & Gold’ easing things back in before, ‘When The Colours Run’ comes on like a folk tornado, whipping up the crowd. Last song, ‘I Love You, Sleepyhead’ is given a collective drumming finale that lifts this rather laid-back track and closing a really great performance from this evocative band.
Check out the photo gallery below by Valerio Berdini, taken not at The Thekla but at Lanterns On The Lake’s show at The Junction in Cambridge. Valerio’s excellent website, Live on 35mm, can be found here: valerioberdini.com and blog is here. You can also keep up with Valerio on twitter if you wish: @liveon35mm.
All words by Philip Allen. More work by Philip can be found in his Louder Than War archive.