Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London | May 1, 2015
by Dan Salter
Sometimes, when you’ve waited so long for something you’re looking forward to so much, anticipation can ruin an experience; it can build up your expectations to a level that reality can not hope to meet. Fortunately seeing Marriages for the first time, something which I have waited over three years for, was one of those rare occasions when the reality not only met all my expectations but far exceeded them.
Before I get further in to quite why, a quick shout out to the night’s support band Violetic. Sadly, we only caught the second half of their set but what we heard was mighty impressive. Yes, they sound like an amalgam of most of the records I loved when I was 19, and were young enough to have not been born when most of them came out making me feel very old indeed, but they clearly had a lot of talent and if they can craft their own unique voice from the obvious set of influences they had on display they could be very good; ones to keep an eye on.
Now back to the main event. As stage time grew near a reverential hush settled over the assembled audience, broken as the band came on stage to raucous hollers and whoops. Without any further ado they launched in to ‘Ride In My Place’, the first track from their debut Kitsune and the first Marriages track I ever heard when said album landed in my inbox back in the spring of 2012. ‘Body Of Shade’ and ‘Ten Tiny Fingers’, the next two tracks from Kitsune, followed in quick succession, all three run together as one wonderful, desert-blown piece. As the dying strains of ‘Ten Tiny Fingers’ faded away there was a weird moment of silence as a palpably stunned crowd momentarily forgot to clap, and then the storm broke and a rapturous ovation rang out.
The main body of the set is of course dedicated to tracks from this year’s Salome album and it’s here the band really hit their stride and take things to a yet higher level. Live they are a tight unit, Andrew Clinco providing a powerful bedrock with the drums, Greg Burns switching effortlessly, often mid-bar, between keys and thumping bass and Emma Ruth Rundle bringing what can only be called the magic, not just with her extraordinary voice and guitar work but with PRESENCE.
In my 25 odd years of going to gigs I’ve seen a lot of bands and performers and there are definitely some that have that little bit extra that is almost indefinable. I think of it as a particular intensity, an internal singularity that generates a visual gravity, you just can’t tear your eyes away. People like David Bowie, Patti Smith, Andrew Eldritch, Mark Lanegan and Trent Reznor all have it and to that list you can most definitely add the name of Emma Ruth Rundle.
From then on it all becomes flashes and moments; when the heart-rending chorus of ‘Less Than’ drops, when the extended ambient section resolves in to the opening guitar line of ‘Skin’ and ‘Salome’, oh sweet lord, ‘Salome’. All punctuated with collective gasps and sighs from the rapt crowd.
And then they finish with ‘Part The Dark Again’ and destroy everything. Utterly. It’s hard to put in to words what this song means to me other than to say that since I first heard it three years ago it’s become the most played song in my collection. It is special, moving and cathartic and seeing it played live after all that waiting nearly broke me; there were tears. Floods of them. The most wonderful, beautiful tears.
Then it was over. Too soon but perfect just as it was. Thankfully I only have to wait until August to see them again. Bring on ArcTangent!
via Echoes and Dust