I can honestly say that Pelican have provided me with some incredible musical mementos, from their heavier early days through to their more recent melodic period, which on occasion has journeyed with me on an almost personal level, being the commuting man I am. Still, I’m not a cannot of any sort. I was oblivious to the fact they last toured over here with Torche in 2008 and only found out they stopped off in Manchester thanks to a flyer I spotted on my way home from a Meshuggah concert on the very same day.
Hence, I and a lot of fans have long awaited Pelican’s return to these shores, which was finally to arrive this past week. I made no secret of my anticipation of these shows through this site, so Monday 9th April turned out to be a quietly but keenly anticipated evening, a correction of my previous oversight.
I’ve been doing gigs for nearly eleven years now but this was my first time ever at the Brudenell Social Club, a venue that appears to excellently marry a modern day gig venue with the quirks and hallmarks of traditional working men’s clubs (a fading hallmark of UK culture, eroded by modernization and town/city centre pubs, clubs and bars). It provides an intimate setting for performers and paying punters alike, and a perfect one at that for Pelican to deliver their set.
Pelican pull largely from their recent output for this show (‘City of Echoes‘ through to new release ‘Ataraxia/Taraxis‘), but stick mainly to the heavier and shorter songs that provide most energy to their show. ‘Lathe Biosas’, one of the two newies in the setlist, is a superb opening riff machine, creating a simultaneous throng of flashbulbs and headbangers alike. It flows seamlessly between ‘Echoes‘ and ‘What We All Come to Need‘ material, laying on thick heavy grooves through ‘Ephemeral’ and ‘An Inch Above Sand’. They do treat the audience to one oldie, ‘Mammoth’, during their encore, and is everything its name suggests – ultra heavy, trudging, crushing in every sense.
We got a little over an hour from Pelican tonight, and perhaps would have liked a bit more from them – but then, it was a Bank Holiday and the turnout was impressive for a Monday, though not quite a sellout. But instrumental bands often take flak for not being entertaining enough, if that’s the right word. Pelican tonight showed why they’ve stuck around so long and continue to drive forward, proving once again you don’t need a vocalist conjuring demons through their voice to make for a heavy force. Pelican are much more engaging for that, and let’s hope its not another four years before they return to these shores again.
*Apologies to Blacklisters and Bleaklow, whose sets I didn’t catch as I was tending to my fatherly duties back home, which will always come first. Hope you had a blast.