Spellbinding performance by the Swiss masters of progressive, doomy folk masters 10/10
Words by Lynds, photographs (c) Delilah Artist
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Appearance Of Nothing were leaving the stage as we entered, but we were privy to witness Blanket’s first appearance in Wales. The Blackpool based four piece, entertained the growing audience with a diverse selection of styles that ranged from new-wave, to emo, to prog via pop rock and doom metal. They demonstrated sincerity, passion and marvellous professionalism despite acknowledging that the audience may be unsure of when to applaud the end of a song due to the nature of the music! But they certainly got the crowd moving with stand out tracks including Night Party and Turn Ourselves To Stone.
With no fanfare, but extremely efficient road crew; Cellar Darling take to the stage. I was intrigued as to how the trio would transpose into a live environment and the addition of a bassist and keyboard player. Opening with a blistering version of Black Moon from their debut album This Is The Sound, which saw the ethereal Anna stalking the stage with her electric, wireless hurdy-gurdy with astonishing control and grace, her vocals soul-shatteringly powerful and engaging, enhanced by the majestic guitarwork of Ivo Henzi and the primal and crushing rhythms of Merlin Sutter on drums. The audience gaze upon the band as is spellbound, awestruck as the smiles on stage expand.
Hullaballoo follows and the joy is compounded with the audience joining in the chorus of Avalanche and the (unexpected) wind-milling of hair during Challenge! The delivery is flawless, but with a depth and feeling that seems almost at odds with the accuracy of play. Murphy casually switches between impassioned vocals, heavy hurdy-gurdy solo’s and fantastically whimsical flute playing with such ease as to astonish during Six Days. The audience is then treated to the audiobook recital of Pain and an incredible live delivery with a ripping guitar solo. This version of the song is even more poignant live, but is promptly overshadowed by Death. Love is suitably euphoric, but with hints of the sinister.
The Spell beguiles and bewitches as Murphy’s stratospheric vocals soar. I am not entirely sure, but I believe I noticed a dud note during Burn, I note this only to assure the reader that the songs were indeed delivered live so staggeringly well were they performed. The speed, precision and emotion was astounding. During and incredible and thrashier version of Insomnia, which saw a rawness and even greater passion creep into Murphy’s voice while she appeared to use the hurdy gurdy crank as a whammy bar! Freeze was given a far deeper weight live with a pared back drum and bass groove with echoes of Kashmir. Hope returns with a proggier and heavier yet soothingly somnambulistic Love Pt II closes an incredible performance and the band departs, but not for long as the audience cheers. . The audience requests Prophet Song (a Queen track, covered by Cellar Darling on their debut as a bonus track) and it is delivered with tingles to everybody’s spine. Redemption brings the evening to a head leaving all euphoric.
Closing an intense experience that shattered expectations and undoubtedly created numerous new fans, (of which security confirmed) Cellar Darling live are an un-missable experience. 10/10