Live review: Silent Cities ‘Eigenlicht’ EP launch
Support from Thom Morecroft & The Full Moon Band, Magic Arm, Mr Wolf Collective
@LEAF on Bold St
Saturday 18th May 2013
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Silent Cities EP launch party entitled ‘Eigenlicht’, organised by Mellowtone and Rebel Soul. ‘Eigenlicht’, for those of the less Germanic persuasion amongst us, is the colour your eyes see when it’s perfectly dark. Very strange, very mysterious, very Silent Cities. Just try to imagine that this word set the tone for whole evening and you’ll begin to get an understanding of how the evening looked and sounded.
I entered a little bit early feeling slightly awkward, as I’d never been allowed early entry to anywhere prior to this gig! I claimed a seat somewhere in the back and watched the world flurry by as the set teams constructed a fifteen high tree arch round the stage, set up no less than five projectors for the visuals overall, and build an entire puppet set before the gig! Finally when everything was ready, all the lighting set up, candles flickering on table tops and a giant gothic hand projected behind me with word Eigenlicht emblazed across it we were ready to go. I felt like I had wandered into some surreal fairy tale from a Grimm’s bedtime story and nothing could have suited the night more.
First on the line-up were Thom Morecroft and the Full Moon Band from Liverpool, playing jazzy, heart-warming folk music that worked as a perfect opening for the night. From using the full band for the faster paced songs to taking the stage solo for a little more intimacy each and every song was one I wanted to hear again. I got a great sense of range from these guys with slower more melodic numbers and other up tempo more playful songs like “The French Girl” I found myself getting a little bit lost in the music. What really got me about the performance, aside from the competently composed songs, were the lyrics. The way the words fell and the topics they covered displayed a maturity far outstretching Thom’s own age.
Next up was Magic Arm from Manchester and I still, truthfully, don’t know how to describe what I heard, which I must say is a wonderful thing for me as a listener. I sat there thinking, “What does this sound like?” but came up blank. Using a wide variety of instruments I won’t pretend to understand, backed up by his resident drummer and violinist, Magic Arm creates something of a haunting lullaby rooted in experimental folk. This guy transcends genre, and will continue to refuse musical categorisation with his innovative use of multi-instruments and effects. I would love to hear Music Arm’s music as the soundtrack for a major film; this is music that creates pictures in your head when you choose to close your eyes to it.
In the middle of the night we were given a special treat that I was completely un-prepared for, a shadow puppet show brought to life by the Mr. Wolf Collective. An eerie show of professional quality, the amount of time, practice and dedication that performance must have taken is staggering to imagine. A fantastic addition to the night!
Then it was time for Silent Cities to take to the stage, the moment we had all been waiting for. Silent Cities (Simon Maddison) is a one man act who on this special occasion was joined on stage by an accompanying four piece band. Let me say his proficiency with guitar and vocals was an astonishing, resonating heartfelt expression that coursed out through the speakers into the room and settled like it wasn’t real. After the first few songs the band departed leaving him to do what he does best and I have to say the band was brilliant but Silent Cities is something that needs no additions in my opinion.
In one song, “All Ghosts Are Tiny Travellers” we heard one man create an orchestra of sound with only his guitar and voice. Silent Cities is chorus unto himself, pure, unbroken falsetto executed perfectly in sync with finger picked guitar that would baffle even the most accomplished musician, and it certainly baffled me! He used the guitar as his drum, implemented pedals and effects to take the music beyond himself. Simon must have spent years forging his sound delicately in quiet spaces and it really came through with this performance. He has such reserved passion on stage, moving with his songs and echoing meaning with his body language, the tense quality of his music makes it feel as if he might explode on stage at any moment but never does. The EP is soft in places, melodic all the way through with sudden bursts of energy that gives his music, at the launch anyway, so many levels and opens it up for anyone to enjoy.
Over all it was magical night and I hope it was a successful launch party for the sake of all involved. I felt like I had fallen into a dream I never wanted to wake up from.
© 2013 Dominic Brooks – Liverpool Acoustic
Live review: Silent Cities ‘Eigenlicht’ EP launch @ LEAF 18/5/13
Dominic Brooks is a writer based in the northwest UK with a passion for acoustic music above all else. He also works as a video editor and producer for his own production company making promotional footage for bands and venues. He has played guitar for many years and works with bands and solo musicians at gigs, as well as producing his own material and playing the occasional open mic night when he finds the time.
To receive all of our posts via email add your email address below, press 'Subscribe'. Keep an eye out for a verification email - you might want to check your spam folder.