I’ve been listening to The Cosmic Dead for several months now and, having downloaded some of their live stuff from Bandcamp, I got it into my head that I really wanted to see them. A significant obstacle to that was the fact that the band currently hail from Glasgow, so I was pretty excited when they announced a European tour that took in a couple of dates within reasonable driving distance of the South Coast.
So, my friend Andy and I trundled along to Sanctuary Live in Basingstoke on Tuesday night, handed over a fiver on the door and were subsequently greeted by some cracking sounds and a well-stocked merch stall that I promptly plundered for tapes and t-shirts.
Following excellent support sets from BLACKHOodS and You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons, The Cosmic Dead took to the stage, where the stage was in fact the floor and ‘taking it’ involved circling around to face in to one another for the duration of their set.
Julian, the drummer, impressed us with his strength and stamina as he and Omar, on bass, powered the band through the hour or so set, with James on guitar increasingly losing himself in the music, followed by those members of the audience happy to tag along. (Note: my apologies if names and/or roles are wrong or mixed up – they were clumsily pieced together from this excellent interview)
Daft as it sounds, what came as a bit of a surprise to me were the keyboards that resided in what appeared to be a randomly packed box of effects propped across a couple of bar stools. Don’t ask me why, but I have never really pictured keyboards or a keyboard player while listening to their music.
However it quickly transpired just how much the keyboards contribute to both the sound and the visual aspects of its delivery, with keyboard player Lewis variously hunched over, arched away and even kneeling in front of his rig as he coaxed from it the trippy sounds that went a long way to completing the pounding, howling, droning wall of sound pouring out of the band.
Until Tuesday night The Cosmic Dead struck me as being more space rock orientated than anything else, but tonight I was getting more of a driving Krautrock vibe, particularly with the final tune which culminated in a chandelier guitar-lynching and completely blew me away.
And for their [our] part the audience, a little sparse by the end, were noisy and appreciative, making up for lack of numbers with volume and enthusiasm as the set closed out and the band departed the ‘stage’.
If I could ask for one thing from the band it would be a longer set, although given the intensity with which The Cosmic Dead comet blazed through Sanctuary Live I feel it would be churlish to mention it, other than to say I could listen to them play all night.
Thanks to everyone involved for a great night; everyone I spoke to was incredibly enthusiastic and friendly, and I hope the Cosmics have a truly epic European tour! Check out a track from the new cassette/download album here: