Monday nights are Cornish Psych nights in wonderful downtown Dalston these days and while my head may be full of childhood reminiscences of driving by the corner this pub is by in the very late 60's and early 70's that really doesn't prepare me for this night of weird and wonderful music as Hanterhir's tour to promote the recent Triple album The Saving Of Cadan finally reaches London.
First on however are Cornish Ex-pat's The Brainiac 5 who I honestly can't remember the last time in saw them play it was a while ago which with a band that plays at least a gig a month in London these days has always been relatively easy to do.
They came on to a very sparsely populated room that filled up a good bit during the opening number while lead Braniac Charlie Taylor was singing about how the Night Will Never End that had the first of many intense and great guitar solos from Mad Dog Kerr. In total keeping with the wonderfully over verbose nature of the bands songs I Haven't Got A Clue what the song about not having a clue is called but it sounded cool and had some solid bass underpinning Mad Dogs guitar flourishes.
They have the sort of easy going natural communication that comes from decades playing to a dedicated fan base so that when they are singing about Growing Up no one thinks it odd that blokes of a certain age are singing about this stuff as the bluesy edge to the guitar solo worked really well with it.
Charlie introduced the opening track from the bands most recent album We're Ready as being an Existentialist Drinking Song and it was easy to see and hear where he was coming from in a pub that had me drinking pints of Stiff Upper Lip. After the band intros they are singing about The World Inside and are getting groovier and more into the bands nicely askew rhythm.
Still not only is this review not using the right song titles it's not trying to finds them out either as some things as the next song goes are better left unsaid especially if you want to hear about the Girl they are in love with that doesn't love them as the heroine at the centre of what I think is She's Free (A.K.A. Trotsky) undoubtedly does.
They close with a great version of Space Is The Place the bands tribute to Sun Ra that borrows and reworks the classic of that name and I hope I don't leave it decades before seeing them play live again.
After the break it's time to take a flight into the Cornish Hinterlands inhabited by Hanterhir and they really take the room on a journey that starts with the Multi-instrumentalist Louise Macchi on Violin building a riff with Mike Hewitt on Saxophone. They take us to say Hello Sunshine while assaulting our senses while Ben Harris sings about just one town against the storms of noise he and Peasy are creating on the guitars that break into pastoral bliss as hearts break.
Cornish tales of the Lady Of The Lake full of swirling sax and Violin that set the scene before Louise switches to flute to lead us on and on as the sax breaks against the scowling guitars for a full on dance cacophony that Jason Browns ever manic drumming underpins and helps to keep us all moving.
Delivered Hope starts with Pulsing quadruple vocal harmonies before the flute bursts through and takes flight with the sax and the drums take an obtuse direction in support of the Whartonesque guitars mauling our minds. Song Of The Lady is totally tripped out dance hop madness.
Sorrow Goes flies into our faces on the back of a flute riff heavy prog opera interjected with sax wails until the violin swims into our minds as the love goes chasing after the sorrow. Tonight's acoustic guitar and flute beginnings for some chill out bliss and pulsing bass it's almost a ballad.
The Fisherman sets sail with a flute laden almost Highland fling style dance of doom as they sail off for a merry dance with the deep sax miasma beckoning as fidgety guitars get distended in the warped guitar swirling storm beside the sea they have encompassed us within all that violin fuzz and sax pulses die away.
The Dream we are immersed in full of noir sea stories and chants with light pastoral violin dance invocation. The full dream passages that lead to a flute and sax miasma that is worlds apart from the world outside we are in full flight as flames seem to be sparking between that flute and sax as the drums keep the beat decidedly dance against guitars warping and distorting our senses screaming.
They have told us many tales and surprised and baffled us as the show draws to a close against violin led walls of noise implode and get mauled by the guitars and the Flute sax just know how to lead us gentle towards the end of an astonishing and hard to explain set of wondrously out there music.
Hanterhir's music makes more sense having seen and heard them live than the first couple of listens to the album did, they also joked about between songs a good bit while keeping things Cornish and proud, they are really well worth seeing if you like magical and at times difficult musical journeys.