The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

By Tom Beck

You know you’ve reached ‘that’ stage in life when a Sunday afternoon matinee show sounds like a brilliant idea. Have a spot of lunch, watch some of the football, casually stroll down to the pub to watch some emo-rock, then get home in time for the 6 o’clock news. I don’t watch the 6 o’clock news, but that’s beside the point. Some great forward thinking by the promoters, This Is Not Revolution Rock and Jebs Presents, saw The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die , Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), and Playlounge (finally…an easy name to repeat) pull a double shift at the Lexington in North London. It was glorious.

It was a sunny day out but the venue was relatively full in time for locals Playlounge. Armed with material off their new album, ‘Pilot’, the duo crash through an enjoyable set with plenty of energy. The album itself is rough around the edges and that’s certainly the vibe they pull off live too. They also boast a singing drummer and that novelty sets them up well here. A good choice for an opening band and one we’ll be seeing more from I’m sure.

Next up was Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) otherwise known as the driving force behind en-vogue emo-rock label Count Your Lucky Stars. I’m a huge fan of many of the labels releases but have always struggled with Empire’s awkward vocals and delicate tracks, so had expected to be very underwhelmed here. Fortunately those preconceptions were wide of the mark as, complete with a ‘rented’ backing band; this set was a great blend of powerful rock and subtle, poignant, emotions. It certainly helped to hear some of the stories behind the tracks too and that added character really shone through.

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die were then every bit as grandiose and as elaborate as their name suggests. Playing a mixture of tracks from their latest album, 2013’s Billboard chart bothering ‘Whenever, If Ever’, and their earlier split with Deer Leap, we’re treated to a 45 minute adventure that I didn’t really want to end. They swing between atmospheric twinkles and crashing crescendos in moments and each track manages to be more engrossing than the next. Not only are they incredibly tight live they, with seven members on stage, are quite interesting to watch too. Each member is entirely different to the next but you’re drawn towards front man David Bello as he drifts in and out of the set, often hiding behind his mop of hair. When called upon his vocals are spot on and he seems to effortlessly glide between tones with impressive range. It’s a really absorbing experience and one which I can’t wait to repeat.

This was a very good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.