Jane Weaver @ Hare and Hounds 29 November, 2017

A recent review on this site took exception, and understandably so, at the amount of loud and obnoxious chattering at a recent gig in Wolverhampton. I inquired of the opinion of a friend who was at said gig. He concurred with the review and said it was absolutely accurate.  The worst he’d heard and spoiled the gig. In the last year or so I have witnessed a support band and entourage talking loudly and throughout the second support, quiet parts of the performance included.  The review of that gig got me some social media abuse from said band who have since had the good fortune to have not met me down any dark alleys. I’ve also witnessed the polite sarcasm of a member of a band fail to hush elements of the crowd before the singer of another band took over the microphone and literally pleaded with the crowd to just try to show some respect for just twenty minutes.
It seems to have come to ridiculous levels in the last few years. Is this the effects of our senses being over bombarded by the fast pace of life. Has our attention span been so reduced that we can’t concentrate on one thing for more than a few minutes? Seemingly not for the combined audience at the show tonight. Respect is in abundance from this full house.  Not just during songs but between also. Not even a smattering of noise until each song is clearly and most certainly finished and then rapturous applause, followed by a hushed reverential yearning for the next to begin.
It really is a breath of respectful fresh air!
So, as mentioned previously, tonight appears to be a sell out and we wait patiently for Miss Weaver and her two musicians to begin. Centre stage is the instrument that has no name and is becoming an integral part of many bands set up. Part keyboard, part synth, part gadget that makes noises. As a drums, bass and guitar man I have to admit to not knowing a technical name for this box of tricks but I’m becoming more accustomed to it’s appearances.
To her right is the guitarist and behind her, drummer. “Only seven minutes late” she declares with a smile as the band, present and settled, prepare for the off.
Throbbing vibrations and mechanical tapping introduces the intro of “H_A_K”, and as the insistent drive of the drums enters the fray, the box of tricks produces a rumble of bass sounds that I haven’t heard since Culture at the Hummingbird fifteen years ago (and my jeans are still vibrating from that one). It’s a glorious mix of (the more listenable) elements of Throbbing Gristle and the space rock elements of Hawkwind and Acid Mothers Temple, with a Kraut Rock throb, all overlaid with a voice of crystalline clarity.
As the sound becomes less of a wall of throbbing over-driven, yet amazing noise, the steady pulse that runs through the recently released album, “Modern Kosmology” takes over and makes the set its own. It is there throughout.  It’s the pulse that defines, for me, the Jane Weaver sound. I admit to being a late comer and this album is my gateway to her output. It feels that the vocals and the music are one, entwined in a symbiotic relationship where neither could ever work as well separetely.
The set is heavy of songs from the new album which suits me fine.
The jazz drums of title track from the album, “Modern Kosmology”, grab up that metronomical throb as it passes by and we are taken on a cruise control journey accompanied by Jane Weaver’s vocals as driver.
Heavy duty Radio 6 rotation hit “The Architect” gets an outing with it’s more shimmering electropop sound drenched in reverb. Strangely, as good as it is, this is possibly the weakest track in the set list. Class nonetheless!
“Loops In The Secret Society” is pure Velvet  Underground with a Nico that can sing. Long notes and phrases without the vocal gymnastics and warbling that plague so many artists. The fact that Miss Weaver picks up a guitar of her own for this track gives the guitarist the freedom to veer further into VU territory with that screechy metal against metal viola sound. There’s a Spacemen 3 thing running through it too.
“Ravenspoint” is a mix of the VU, again, with a North African edge to it and with the hypnotic vocals of Yasmine Hamdan. The drumming is stunningly good and proves that soft handed dynamics and a timely floor tom note is worth more to a song than any amount of speedy stick wankery.
Ever get that mid-gig day dream moment when you suddenly realize that you’ve just missed the last song? Not here! Glued to every minute of what does not go on long enough. This set is way too short for this fella. I could listen to this all night.  In the moment and unable to get set list photo as I was, there maybe running order inaccuracies and omissions, but it was near as damn it, the finest moments from Miss Weaver’s last two albums.
Do yourself a favour and catch this artist’s next tour or at a festival in 2018, especially if you love Stereolab, Spacemen 3, Velvet Underground and some psychedelic electro-pop with a pulse of Kraut Rock running through it. Modern Kosmology indeed…. or maybe that should be Modern Kosmischology!!!  .

Setlist

H_A_K
Did You See Butterflies
Modern Kosmology
Slow Motion
Mission Desire
The Architect
The Lighting Back
I Wish
Don’t Take My Soul
Loops In The Secret Society
Ravenspoint
I Need A Connection
Reviewer: Mark Veitch

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