LIVE REVIEW: Woven Skull @ The Old Police House (21.7.17) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Gary Chaytor

Last time Woven Skull played the Old Police House only about 7 people showed up. Obviously their reputation as one of the most life-enhancing live acts around has spread, because it was busy enough tonight that people were peering round the door into the band room and even peeking through the window.

Luna del Cazador – minus mighty Mark Wardlaw – kicked off with a set of dramatic, ritualist post punk, Jamie battering the shit out of a big drum like a man possessed. Wreaths’ haunting, haunted soundscapes hung heavy on a warm Tyneside evening.

Then it was time for $un $keletons, a Reading outfit containing half of the fearsome Workin’ Man Noise Unit. This is a very different proposition though, a sax / drums / shahi baaja trio (it’s a kind of zither, doofus!) that play one powerful, improvised piece. Things start calmly, sax and loops and light percussive touches, but build to something genuinely uplifting, full of krautrock momentum and measured mayhem. I wish they’d played for hours but they had to keep the engine running on their car…

Woven Skull start where most bands peak, drums (well, drum) at full pelt, mandola and guitar and viola (from tour guest Ailbhe) throwing down huge, raga-tinged crescendos. It takes a band like Godspeed an hour to reach this kind of energy, but Woven Skull aren’t fucking about. There’s a version of Ananda which is off the fucking hook, and by the end Willie is playing a drum solo using just his snare and cymbal that renders any amount of heavy metal big kit showboating redundant, Natalia is waving her mandola in the air riding the feedback, Aonghus is making his guitar roar and Ailbhe is channelling VU-era Cale and it’s so beautiful it makes my withered old heart soar. I love these people and I love their music and the world is just immeasurably better for having Woven Skull in it.

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