About two weeks ago, I finally finished my review of The Eden House's gig at The Lexington and sent it, together with some photos, to the guy who puts all the articles online at La Magicbox. Unfortunately, it looks like he's so busy that he still hasn't found any time to post it, and it has been sitting there for a fortnight... Therefore, I have decided to put the article here in the meantime.
The photos are not very good as my trusty "gig camera" doesn't work anymore...
When the review is up on La Magicbox, I will come back to this blog and link it (there will also be a French version of the article on there.)
Supporting were Jordan Reyne (whose new album The Annihilation Sequence I have reviewed HERE) and Red Sun Revival.
*Update 24/07/2013: the English and French versions of the review are now on La Magicbox website:
THE EDEN HOUSE – RED SUN REVIVAL – JORDAN REYNE
9th June 2013
The launch of The Eden House’s second album Half Life (reviewed by me HERE) feels like some kind of laid-back, good spirited family affair. The Lexington hasn’t got the barriers and the overzealous security meat-heads that so often spoil the gig-going experience. We are left free to enjoy some of the best music around without the corporate beer and the idiots watching the bands through the tiny luminous screen of their smart phones.
I first came across New-Zealand artist Jordan Reyne last October when she supported Fields of The Nephilim at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Tonight, Jordan is smiling, relaxed and chatty, her tumbling curls looking ablaze under the red lights. She is a charismatic performer and born storyteller armed only with an acoustic guitar and a machine that mixes sounds and vocals live. Her work is an intoxicating and intriguing mixture of folk and industrial with a dark heart and a fascinating and fluent narrative core. Her set mixes songs from her brand new album, The Annihilation Sequence, and from the previous one, the excellent Children of a Factory Nation. She also plays the powerfully evocative The Proximity of Death from her 2009 album How the Dead Live, a real treat! Another highlight is the stunning, hauntingly visceral The Narcissus – from the new album – a track that burrows itself under your skin and makes your hair stand on end. To see Jordan perform it gives the song the flesh and bones it crucially requires. Thundering machines beat the rhythm of Factory Nation and a mosaic of sounds inhabits London, whilst A Woman Scorned is incredibly poignant in its bare simplicity. A truly riveting performance.
I didn’t know Red Sun Revival before I checked them out ahead of tonight’s gig. A relatively new band – formed in 2011 – comprising of accomplished and experienced musicians, the quartet has already built up a faithful following. Their music is a rather traditional gothic rock, full of sweeping melodies and heavy hearts. Frontman Rob Leydon’s sonorous, emotional voice is delightfully theatrical and suits the music perfectly. As the set goes along, I warm to them and their meticulously crafted, perfectly delivered songs. I particularly like Christina Emery’s violin, which really adds an interesting dimension to the tracks, as on Nothing To Hide, Running From The Dawn or the very Fields of the Nephilim-inspired My Child.
Red Sun Revival's Rob Leydon is most certainly a much-in-demand musician as he has just officially been announced as a new member of The Eden House, replacing the very busy producer Andy Jackson on guitar. Back on stage as well is Jordan Reyne, who tonight will be one of two main vocalists, together with Laura Bennett.
Now, The Eden House is probably one of the best live bands around, but tonight, we are in for a very special treat indeed. Joining Stephen Carey(guitar), Simon Rippin (drums) and Tony Pettitt (bass) are Bob Loveday on violin and five of the female vocalists who appear on the new album, Half Life – and I’ve got the feeling that if Monica Richards hadn’t been living in the US, she would have been here tonight as well to sing Bad Men.
Seeing The Eden House live is a masterclass in musicianship and excellence: Stephen Carey and Tony Pettitt play with a quiet concentration which is nothing but impressive; Jordan and Laura sing with gusto and passion but I would have liked their microphones to be set on a higher level; their beautiful voices are getting slightly lost, overpowered by the sheer might of the music.
Three songs from the first album Smoke and Mirrors – God’s Pride, All My Love and Sin – remind us all of why we fell in love with the supergroup in the first place: this unique, intoxicating mixture of grandiose melodies, dark undercurrents and epic sense of the dramatic. Live, liberated from the shackles of the recording format, the beautiful monster that is The Eden House’s music comes alive and finally has a face, a body and a soul – albeit, much like Frankenstein’s Creature, it is made of a multitude of components: singers, musicians, moods, genres… And just like said Creature, it is so incredibly strong and powerful, we can literally physically feel the music taking possession of our senses in the small venue.
The mainly instrumental Timeflows keeps the promises of its title: it rumbles like a swollen river of sound flowing across a wild, unforgiving landscape. Soul singer Queenie Moy confidently takes possession of the microphone for Hunger, whilst Anathema’s Lee Douglas is joined by Jordan and Laura for her pitch-perfect, rousing City of Goodbyes. The playful Phoenix J enchants us with her sunny presence and First Light, during which Bob Loveday gets a little pipe out and plays the little bird fleeting around PJ’s head.
It is all so heady that when we are denied an encore because of venue time restrictions, we feel a tad lost.
And we therefore exit onto the busy Pentonville Road, convinced that we have witnessed something special and magical.
It was a privilege to be there. You should have been too.
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