No-Man are one of those bands that I like, but never really listen to much on record unless J plays it. For ages they didn’t tour, but the last few years they’ve played about a gig a year in the UK and I think J & I have been to all of them. This one was at the Islington Assembly Hall which isn’t a venue I’ve been to before, quite nice inside although not terribly memorable. It did have good beer on offer, though – bottles of Hobgoblin, Adnams Bitter or Fursty Ferret. As it was a seated gig without assigned seats we’d organised to meet Paul in the queue about half an hour before doors, he got there just a little before us & had got a spot nearish the front of the queue. We ended up a couple of rows from the front 🙂 Surprisingly so, as it was apparently a sold out gig but most people hadn’t shown up early it seems.
The support act was one of the guys from Anathema, Danny Cavanagh. I’ve never bought a ticket specifically to see Anathema but nonetheless I’ve seen them or members of them nearly a dozen times doing support slots for various bands (mostly Steven Wilson related ones in some sense, like this one as he’s in No-Man). I do like some of their stuff, but not enough to want to go see them play so for a while I’d got rather burnt out on having them as the support act. But I’ve got over that, and this was just the one guy with a guitar so it felt quite different. It was a good set, and he did some neat stuff with loops to provide percussion & additional layers of guitar. And ended with a cover of a Pink Floyd song 🙂
Then it was No-Man, who were awesome. I thought they seemed more relaxed as a band this gig – probably because this was at the end of a (short) European tour, rather than the first gig for several months. Their aesthetic for the evening was clearly black-shirts-with-dark-trousers, and the simplicity of that fits the music which I tend to think of as sparse even tho often it’s not. (I don’t know if that makes sense outside my head 😉 ). There weren’t any flashy visuals or showy lights, just the band playing – but they still kept everyone’s attention focused through the gig.
I’m not good at remembering set-lists for gigs (I’m generally not good at naming songs even if I know them well …), but I do remember that they played “Time Travel in Texas” which is one of my favourite tracks live. Here’s a youtube vid of it recorded at their gig in 2011:
They also played a brand new track, which sounded very promising for whenever they next release an album.
A good evening 🙂