SIGHTS & SOUNDS. Underworld, Camden. 30.10.09
Some gigs feel huge. It is often down to the environment- modern rock behemoths playing at sold out mega stadiums with lights brighter than the sun and sound systems loud enough to crack the earth in two probably can’t help but seem like a big deal. But just occasionally you don’t need any of that stuff. Just occasionally you get to see such a show at a venue like the Underworld on a night like tonight- an ordinary dark room, half full with ordinary people, on an ordinary Thursday. Because Sights & Sounds are no ordinary band.
From a smoky, slow-burning start to roaring, cinematic climax, the Canadian band sound titanic (and all the other words that mean bloody massive). It might be that erstwhile Comeback Kid singer Andrew Neufeld is built like an ice hockey player, a towering frontman, or it might be that the band around him consistently conjure up an epic, potent and truly powerful noise, but they pull focus for every second. They zoom everything in. Or out. Whatever the right words are for that thing that happens when a gig turns into a show, and when a band turns from four guys into a force of nature. The Underworld is Wembley Stadium.
Of course Sights & Sounds were always going to sound special so long as they came anywhere close to recreating the material on their ‘Monolith’ record. But tonight’s setlist is no mere going through the motions or tracklisting retread. ‘Sorrows’ is a massive (of course), unstoppable thing, ‘The Clutter’ is cut down from its lengthy studio state but still feels labyrinthine and hypnotic, and Neufeld all but folds himself in half with the effort of getting ‘Storm and The Sun’ out.
His exertion pays off. This is music you feel in your head and heart and chest, a show where the band loom like legends and there could be 500,000 people behind you or you could be the only one they’re playing for. This is a night that melts into your memories never to come out. This is the sort of show that has you all out of superlatives after just the first song. I’m lost for words…