GIG REVIEW: BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and HAKEN Live at The Haunt, Brighton
It’s not often you see a show of this caliber with only two acts on the bill, but with two bands with such a standard of quality and so much to say, it was a perfect fit. It allowed the tone of the whole evening to be instantly set in a tide of whacky keyboards, insane shred guitar, and enough drum fills to seal a canyon.
Haken walked out on stage not long after the venue’s opening, which meant their crowd were gathering over the first two songs. The sound in The Haunt in Brighton was crystal-clear, allowing for each guitar to cut through and the bass and drums to pound in your chest as Haken busted out “Premonitions” and “In Memoriam”. Frontman Ross Jennings matched his bandmates’ virtuosity, delivering a variety of vocal styles whilst retaining an intrinsic weirdness which added to an already captivating show. “Cockroach King” was a highlight of the set, again allowing the frontman and backing vocalists to show off their harmonising skills in a Jethro Tull-type manner.
The grand finale was “Crystalised”, an extended epic that had the sonic effects of a full-on mushroom trip. Jennings graciously walked off stage during extended musical sections to allow his band to come to the focus. Haken seem to weave so many classic and modern progressive elements into such a tight package that to witness them live was an absolutely mesmerising experience. Even having the audacity to write such esoteric compositions and pull it off is something unappreciated by no one in the audience.
Between The Buried And Me walked onto “Selkies: The Endless Obesession” from ‘Alaska’. This was an odd choice considering that they’re promoting a new album, but with the former currently enjoying its tenth birthday, it was performed with a sense of pride. BTBAM set a precedent of style and grandiosity as “The Coma Machine” and “Astral Body” constructed sections that were capable of transcending into beauty and plummeting straight to hell.
The highlight of their set was “Ants Of The Sky”. The musical climax was melodically so gripping, but with sections such as the bluegrass part getting people in the audience barn-dancing and that major motif that felt like a victory lap, it dictated everything that the band was about.
BTBAM are masters of their art and evoke so many influences it’s a bit like seeing a whole festival main stage line-up in one band. It would have been better to hear more than three tracks off the latest release, but with a ‘Coma Ecliptic’ show on the cards for next year, I guess I’ll just have to watch them again. Oh, what a shame.