By Lisa Mary
Lisa Mary spends the evening with The Arkhamists at Stafford’s Grapes.
On entering the venue, the guests were greeted (unusually) by the band themselves and were treated to a free CD with original artwork. The band on greeting were warm and inviting, and the crowd were more than ready for a night of alternative material.
The Grapes, as it stands, is a classic venue with an underground feel and the boys, a three-piece alternative-rock band from Birmingham, filled the venue with funky riffs and a deep, warm sound. Having already reviewed their album, Eject the Reject, it is fair to say that I had high expectations of the band; I knew they were capable of recording well, but I was about to experience the real-life live act.
It must be said that drummer Baden caught my eye straight away. Not only is his drumming accurate and a driving-force through the pieces, he is immensely entertaining. Attempting to take photographs of him proved a futile task; all I was able to get was blurred shot after blurred shot as Baden raved on, limbs and head gyrating to the beat of each song. His drumming was the foundations on which sat the bass, played by Joe and the upper layers of guitar and vocals by Dan. The chemistry between bass and guitar was magical and their intricate playing, in conjunction with the complex structure of the pieces themselves which include a number of key and time changes which the band float into effortlessly, producing a fun and lively performance.
The set itself also demonstrated the abilities of this band, with fast, energetic numbers being interspersed with beautiful low-key numbers. The band are able to produce songs with a beauty in their simplicity that then explode into an elaborate piece that has been clearly crafted for the pleasure of the listener. The clear communication of the trio is evident and leads to the perfect timing of the band. A tangle of sound, the numbers keep the reader guessing at where each note is going as the tension builds. With clear musicianship, The Arkhamists are devoted to entertaining, intriguing and capturing the soul of the already captivated audience, vibrating in a rumbling bass and the pulse-like beats that range from raindrops’ patters to the thrashing of thunder. A band of beautiful contrasts.
Dan’s vocals are strong and smooth, emitting the odd growl when the occasion calls; a voice with variations that lends itself perfectly to the dissident nature of the music; they are an amalgamation of different forms of rock heard over the last ten years, and yet also something new, giving it an uncanny feeling of being familiar and yet new. There is a definite sound the The Arkhamists’ pieces, showing their personal take on modern grunge. The music seems to run through them, bleeding through fingers to produce an electric, labyrinthine sound.
Immensely entertaining and clearly gifted, The Arkhamists are a band worth experiencing live and I implore you to jump aboard their ark of sound and see where the flow of their music takes you.