Gig Review: iLiKETRAiNS @ The Roadhouse, Manchester, 30th April 2008

iLiKETRAiNS @ The Roadhouse, Manchester, 30th April 2008I’ve tried really hard to get into iLiKETRAiNS’ Elegies To Lessons Learnt album but instead I seem to be getting more and more bored with it to the point where all the songs seem to merge into one long leaden dirge. So, I wasn’t terribly looking forward to seeing them live again, though I remember that the last time we saw them they were rather good.

The night ended early for Laymar, who impressed when supporting The Twilight Sad at the Night & Day a few weeks ago, when a laptop malfunction (and, according to witnesses, a bit of inter-band squabbling) minutes before they were supposed to start meant that they didn’t play a single note. Shame. Kyte managed to play, despite the singer complaining of having a terrible cold, and they were pretty good, mixing effects-laden washes of guitar with electronica and xylophones though not really getting the epic sound that they seemed to be striving for. To their detriment the songs all seemed to run into each other and they came off a bit like a poor man’s Maps.

iLiKETRAiNS @ The Roadhouse, Manchester, 30th April 2008I may have had reservations, but live iLiKETRAiNS are pretty damned great. Despite the mordant tone of the album, and the fact that the band were dressed for a funeral, with added black armbands, they played with an energy that brought the songs to life. At the heart of the band was the drummer, who was the focal point of the action, despite his position at the back of the stage. It was hard to take you eyes off his vigorous drumming especially as black and white films were being projected onto a screen behind him which, with him being quite a big bloke, he took up most of anyway. His relentless energy rubbed off on the other members and helped to imbue the newer songs with a spark that seems to be missing from the album, particularly on the opening “Twenty Five Sins” and the soaring “The Deception”.

The films playing were related to the songs – most of which are effectively essays on infamous chapters of, mostly British, history – and were introduced by the date and location where they took place. It was an effective ploy and meant that the stage was constantly spinning with monochrome imagery; we got chess games for the brilliant “A Rook House For Bobby” and a long list of all the people who died of the plague in a Derbyshire village in the 17th Century for “We All Fall Down”. Best of all were the arctic scenes for undoubted set highlight “Terra Nova”, about Captain Scott’s fateful expedition to the South Pole.

All in all, this was an audio/visual treat and left me wanting to learn more about the songs and especially their dark subject matter. Next time I listen to Elegies For Lessons Learnt it will be from a new perspective.

iLiKETRAiNS – Twenty Five Sins

iLiKETRAiNS – Terra Nova

4 Responses to “Gig Review: iLiKETRAiNS @ The Roadhouse, Manchester, 30th April 2008”

  • Max Says:

    Good review and I’m glad you covered it because sadly I was at funeral ‘back home’ and I missed it.

    I love iLiKeTRAiNS (hate typing the name though) but I’ve only seen them a few times so I was really looking forward to this. I lived in Leeds for quite a while and so they first appeared on my radar quite a few years ago. I think they are a quality outfit though.

    I’ve only heard Kyte through myspace and I was hoping to buy something from the merch table if I enjoyed them live – so I might wait awhile on this one. I don’t know how well known they are but I’ve come across their name through a booking agent.

    Shame about Laymar. Saw them a few nights ago at a Wotgodforgot gig and nothing was mentioned about a fight or row. Picked up a review of their album as well – they got 4.5 out of 5 which is excellent by anyone’s standards.

    I really hate those split nights at The RoadHouse especially during the week. I now work outside Manchester which means to attend a night like the iLiKeTRAiNS/KyTe gig where there’s an early kick off I have to travel straight to the venue unwashed and hungry or miss one of the support bands. On the plus side though there’s an opportunity to get home early, but who wants to do that?

    Take care
    Max

  • Nicolasa Spendlove Says:

    Next time I just read your blog post, Hopefully it doesnt disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my substitute for read, however actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a variety of whining about something you could fix in case you werent too busy trying to find attention.

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