Arcane Roots / The JCQ / Baby Godzilla @ Electrowerkz, London [09/05/2013]

By Tom Aylott

Tour Bros Photo From The Arcane Roots Facebook

Tonight, Arcane Roots are doing a victory lap around the release of their fantastic new album ‘Blood & Chemistry’, choosing to host the party in London’s Angel, landing at the scuzzy underbelly of The Electrowerkz.

First up tonight in the rather dark venue is Baby Godzilla, and whether it’s the echoey wall of noise their sound mix delivers to the crowd tonight or a performance that befits a band getting a much finer reaction, it isn’t quite the opening set that their reputation precedes. Being an acrobatic frontman is all well and good, but there is a fine line that separates unmissable energy and trying a little bit too hard in a live show. As the bright beacons of the band’s wireless system trace their erratic movements around the room, it’s not quite clear what the fuss has been about. We’re reserving judgement until we see them in front of a better mix though as it’s all sounding a bit fuzzy in here anyway.

Next, the James Cleaver Quintet have a captive and fully grown crowd to perform to. The sound is a little better for them, but it’s still not ideal, and the complexity of their sound being what it is, it all becomes a little bit muddy. Regardless, the slightly adjusted line up of the band look confident and exciting, and they’ve got a fantastic year ahead of them. It’s been a real transformation over the last few years for the band, and they’ve never been so good at turning half-interested heads.

Finally, Arcane Roots come on stage to much extended introduction. Tonight is their night and they deliver the goods in only the way that they can. Their debut album has been long anticipated, but when the songs from the release blend as they do tonight with their earlier material, the timing just feels perfect. ‘You Are’, ‘Hell & High Water’ and ‘Resolve’ just sound fantastic, and the band really have proved themselves as one of the UK’s finest with performances such as this.

The trio’s balance of energy, skill and precision is matched by the reaction of the crowd this evening, and Andrew Groves’ vocals soar amazingly through the rattle and reflecting noise wall that is the Electrowerkz sound. It’s a triumphant performance, and one that no one here will soon forget. If there’s any justice, it’ll be onwards and upwards for Arcane Roots, and there’s little reason to suggest they’ll slow down any time soon.