THE ASTRAL PLAIN @ Manchester Academy

Very rarely do I come across a band who convince me in the first instance through the club’s PA speakers that they mean business. What I mean is they have the full package. So I went to the side of stage to get a better look at The Astral Plain, marvelling as I saw the kick drum pounding to each note of the basslines in solid time – tight.

Music gelling as a unit – check

Strong melodious songwriting – check

Let’s go a bit more in-depth with this:

Arrangement ideas – Wow I couldn’t believe how much each member of the band was on the same page when it came to the arrangement of the music. Everyone had their role in providing some very tasty hooks. Often I find my eyes set gazing at one musician who clearly possesses the ideas. With The Astral Plain this was not the case. There was guitar hooks, bass hooks and even rhythmic drum hooks! Just check out the ride flicks on “The Exposing Light Of The Moon”- the overall groove of this was a spectacle to be able to witness as the drum pattern shone through the light haze of the smoke machine. Brilliance.

Tasteful musicians – Check this flippin’ drummer out he has every beat nailed down to a tee. No sloppy fills, no ad-libs gone wrong – just perfection. The lead guitarist had some beautifully crafted riffs entwining with the bass lines. It was clear as day that these guys all have great ears. They realise the importance of listening to each other!

Songs – I felt that this was what initially drew me to The Astral Plain. An understanding of fresh melody combined with imaginative lyrics going deeper than what is presented. Great potential here for the lyricism to be another wow factor of what the band can do if they tone down the metaphorical terms and make them as tasteful as the music they so naturally produce. The fact that they have a moody male/female vocal blend gives them possibilities and as this is developed further it will push the band further “out there” as a must see band.

Professional attitude and nice guys who are good to work with – Absolutely. Plus they paid tipped their hats to the other bands on the bill My Juliet & VINYL HIGH who both delivered an amazing display of tunes and got the crowd fired up.

Who cares if they are still nurturing their sound the fact is they have some great untouched potential that hasn’t been shaped from the outside. That’s what comes across most inspiring to me when you hear a band that are clearly “going their own way”. This is the sort of thing in three years time that Rough Trade will be all over if the band keep pushing themselves harder. Usually when I hear a band like this that start out with such raw potential I relish as time passes and they become more musically oblique and mysterious with the lyricism – thus bringing us a great great music which goes against every grain.

The recordings may not sound fully rounded yet but the raw potential is evident. In the meantime I urge you to check out what they have to offer on stage whilst they find their feet as recording artists.

Their sound was crisp and everything sounded clear. They had thought about their individual tones from song to song. I can’t stress enough how much atmosphere this adds to a live band’s set. It’s the sonic landscape ever-changing. Keep your audience on board give them something to tune in to. I always say to bands don’t be afraid to get creative with sounds. This was left unsaid last night. These guys acted for thirty minutes as my live music bible!

They break the rules.




Tickets go on sale Fri 15th June

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