Tonight, as the alleged day of rest draws to a close, Belfast’s Limelight 2 looks to be fighting off the urge of peaceful slumber as it hosts the final 65daysofstatic Irish date.
The fact that it’s a school night and a Sunday hasn’t seemed to put off the masses though; by 8.20 pm the venue is fast approaching half-capacity as Axis Of take the stage to offer some rabid left-field punk, ensuring that the crowd realise that they’re in for anything but a calm evening.
Acting as support for 65dos, this N.I. three-piece do well in providing a solid, if not explosive, sonic assault and the reaction from the patrons front of stage conveys appropriate gratitude; a sentiment later shared by the main act – and rightly so, they rocked the joint. Less than an hour later, the crowd seems to be steadily growing as the stage is cleared for the main event.
Although the place isn’t bunged to the gills, it’s a very decent turnout as half nine rolls round. This, friends, is the hardcore fan-base. The tension builds as we stare ahead, industrial clangs and subtle electro rhythms play, sound-tracking the inevitable and punctual stage arrival of 65daysofstatic.
Exuberant roars of welcome greet the band as they exercise their instruments and the onset of melodic, sharp synths and fuzzed-out guitar strokes tell us all we’ll need to know about the quality of this gig. Opening with ‘Heat Death Infinity Splitter’ seems to have been the right decision as more folk stream towards the stage to express their thanks when it ends.
The Boards of Canada meets My Bloody Valentine vibe quickly dissipates as ‘Piano Fights’ rolls in, those opening bars driving the crowd to movement. It’s a fast, rolling beat coupled with a fragility that can only come from mastery of the synth and sampler. Impressively tight layers of sound and ambitious rhythm signal that the track is ending, but the attention of the crowd is anything but waning. So far, so great really. With a slight change-up from the purely electronica sound, the band jump straight into ‘Crash Tactics,’ a song firmly rooted in visceral energy.
There are elements here reminiscent of early NIN and the hard breakbeat drives the track to a crescendo that we couldn’t ignore had we wanted to. Rawer disregard for our ears follows as ‘Prisms,’ ‘Sleepwalk City’ and ‘Unmake the Wild Light’ all get the live treatment with ferocity. Ambient pads drift with lucid guitar delays and the juxtaposing of live and electronic drums exemplify that this is a well-seasoned band of exceptional musicians. The live capabilities here are astonishing given the mechanics of the contrasting electro/live set up.
As the set draws to a finish, 65daysofstatic are kind enough to thank the crowd for their enthusiasm and for turning out to see them given their somewhat prolonged absence from the city. In return, enthused appreciation is directed at the band as they start to play their last songs of the evening.
These earlier works may be more guitar-driven but they don’t lose any of the splendour that the lofty synth-work earlier brought to the party. Finishing just before 11pm, the band is quick to thank us again and take their leave and the general feeling is one of acute satisfaction. “ONE MORE TUNE!” would have been great, alas; we take our leave happy with temporary tinnitus and the grand performance we witnessed.
You can read Dave Hanratty’s interview with the 65dos’ Paul Wolinski here.