Sunday, February 28, 2010


It’s odd seeing a gig when you’ve only heard one of the headlining band’s three albums once. Last week curiosity and recommendation led to buy Field Music’s new album “Field Music (Measure)”. And in one of those moments of serendipity a couple of days later I found myself in possession of a ticket for this gig at Islington Mill in Salford. Sadly my planned crash course in Field Music didn’t happen and I didn’t even get to finish the second listen to the double album let alone listen to the earlier records.

Support was from Lucas Renney (ex The Golden Virgins) here performing songs from his album "Strange Glory" (“nine of out ten in NME. That’s NINE not an upside six”). The quiet songs were a Sunderland take on the hushed and introspective end of Cohen and Eitzel complete with barbed lyrics and lush semi-acoustic melodies. Definitely worth listening to properly. It’s just such a shame that 80% of those watching weren’t bothering to give his band the quiet they needed and deserved - despite Lucas’s best teacher impersonations: “It’s your own time you’re wasting”.

Field Music set up their own equipment with a quiet seriousness. And this was mirrored in their performance. There are occasional flashes of humour and chat (over deviating from the set-list, encouraging the audience to fill in their Field Music collection at the merchandise table) but mostly the four-piece are intently focused on delivering these intricate songs. They play angular post-punk that has a passing resemblance at times to XTC but includes a whole host of other reference points from the early 70s onwards (Cream anyone?).

To a newbie like me there was still lots to enjoy: the Brewis brothers constantly swapped between being front-man/lead guitarist and sitting behind drums, leading different sections of the set; and the sound throughout was fantastic. The first couple of rows were enthusiastically enjoying old and new songs, plus diversions to solo projects by both of the brothers, but there was a huge contingent at the back happy to drink and talk loudly. What was going on? Was this because it was a Friday? Was it people on the guest list who had no intention of listening to the band? It was a frustrating experience. The band were well-drilled, mature and professional – it was a shame a lot of the crowd weren’t. Maybe this goes on all the time and I just filter it out for a band whose songs I know?

Field Music continue touring the UK until 6 March before heading off to North America. Me, I’m going to spend some proper time listening to their music. Without interruption.

Field Music
Field Music (Measure) [BUY]

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