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Long Distance Calling - The Underworld, London - 22nd March 2013 (Live Review)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 Written by Ben Bland
Long Distance Calling - The Underworld, London - 22nd March 2013 (Live Review)

It’s hard to believe that this is Long Distance Calling’s first headline jaunt proper around the UK. They have been bringing their classic rock flavoured take on post-rock to our shores for a good few years, alongside the likes of Katatonia, Maybeshewill and Protest the Hero but now it is their turn to top the bill, and it is an opportunity they have well earned. With new album ‘The Flood Inside’ already looking set to win them a whole new legion of fans, one senses that their time is now.

ImageEnhancing their heavy credentials is the addition of Sahg and Solstafir to their tour party. The former may be Norwegian and have more than the odd connection with the murky black metal scene in their home country but they have made their name on the strength of their easy going headbang worthy riffs. The Underworld may be barely half full when they take to the stage but those in attendance get rid of some cobwebs during ludicrously titled efforts such as ‘The Executioner Undead’; damned good fun. Solstafir are a more esoteric proposition, their shoegazey post-black metal accentuated by their being got up in their usual garb of Icelandic Spaghetti Western extras. Forty-five minutes doesn't give them quite enough time to really let loose but what they do unleash is spectacular even without perfect sound.

From the amount of people leaving after Solstafir play you could be forgiven for thinking things are about to fall pretty flat for Long Distance Calling after all. Thankfully some more people flood in and the band are able to play to a respectable sized crowd. There isn’t any denying that the show should probably have been somewhere a bit smaller anyway but the German quintet play like they are on the biggest stage of their lives at every gig so any negative effect is minimal. Cuts from ‘The Flood Inside’ are well received but it is the stomp of ‘The Figrin D’an Boogie’ and the grit of ‘Black Paper Planes’ that really win over those in attendance most of all. It is slightly glaring that new addition, and supposed frontman, Marsen Fischer is rather underused. He spends most of the time fiddling about inaudibly on some keyboards at the back but when he does get to provide the vocals he signed up for he seems pretty at ease.

In fact “at ease” is a phrase that expertly sums up Long Distance Calling’s approach to gigging. They play like they were born to do it and, even if tonight’s setlist demonstrates that they still lack expertise in balancing a full-length headline set, it is hard to begrudge them the warm smiles they wear at the conclusion of the set.

'The Flood Inside' is out now via Superball Music. Check out Stereoboard's review here.

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