God Is An Astronaut live in London 2018

God Is An Astronaut is a talented instrumental post-rock band. All the way from the beautiful Glen of the Downs in Ireland, which I personally am very jealous about. This was a great introduction to a new style of music for me. It's one of the reasons I love doing this, offers me the opportunity to discover new bands and genres. Most of the music I listen to is more lyric heavy, but melding the vocals into the music gave the songs a new focus and depth. I didn’t expect instrumental music to be so emotive, but I was genuinely captivated and moved by this sensational album.
God Is An Astronaut EU & UK Tour 2018 poster

God Is An Astronaut played a mixture of old favourites, which the crowd erupted for, of course. Combined with some of the most moving songs from their new album. They said they wanted to bring it back to their first song, the “end of the beginning” and judging by the crowds raucous response, I think they achieved it.
The overall style is similar to sound-scaping techniques used by prog-rock bands, and reminiscent of parts of Evanescence and Radiohead. They effortlessly flow between light mystical tones, to trancy electronic, and hard rock. They cleverly use vocals in a way it melts into the instrumental tones, flows effortlessly and becomes one with the music. They start with a light and mystical first half, creating a very ethereal atmosphere. Developing into their more techno-rock style, with crashing drums and guitars.
It is no easy feat to create such a diverse, powerful and emotive instrumental album. But somehow they managed it, a true testament to their skill and passion for music. Their slow and quiet sections were just as, if not more so, moving and intense. The lighting paled and slowed to match the music change. The layers of instruments build up a rich tapestry of sounds that really tell a story. There is something hauntingly beautiful about their songs; it pulls you into a whirlwind of music and emotions.
“Mortal Coil”, my favourite for personal reasons, was even more emotive and powerful in person. The deep, dark and heavy tones rang out across the vast expanse. Just before the last song, he shouted “bring it on!”, proving their commitment, passions and emotional investment. Their final song was a slower song and vocal heavy, completing the loop back round. They definitely achieved the seal of approval from their fans, applause still ringing out as the lights faded.
The lighting was choreographed beautifully with the music; it successfully complimented accentuated the tones. Chatting with the band afterwards, Neils mentioned his wife created the lighting display. Her artist background and passion for his music really shows through. They had a starry light background at the start and end, with various other lighting display in a range of psychedelic colours, which complimented the trance music brilliantly. Looking up at the stage, you could just see silhouettes on top of lighting backdrop, creating powerful imagery.
I had the pleasure of also seeing three warm-up acts; Xenon Field, Tim Bowness and White Ring. All three bands had very different styles, but equally amazing use of lighting, dancing and varied style of music.
Xenon Field set the mood for GiaA with their electronic funk vibe. The lighting was simple but effective. Using a single horizontal light bar behind them that was programmed to fit with their music. The smoke carried the light further into the large room, and added to the mystical vibe. Combined with flashing lights created an almost tippy experience. They choreographed robotic dancing that completed the psychedelic sci-fi experience.
Tim Bowness provided a big style change, from bright lights and techno music, to old school rock with a bluesy soul. Their lyrics were very raw and emotive, ringing out clearly over the music. Then the crash of the guitar and drums hit you, made even more powerful through their strategic use of silences. They cleverly continued to switch between vocal and musical focus, creating depth and intriguing. Then the twang of the guitar string announced a new chapter, and a more bluesy style of music. This band is proof Rock has no age limits; they smashed the hard rock songs as well as the slow ones.
Lastly, the White Ring duo showed great musical talent, switching between different roles. She looked adorable in her gothic lollie style dress; conversely the guy had a more grunge hip hop vibe. Both looks hinted at their individual style of music. He started on DJ decks and the girl started with quiet vocals that melted into the music. Her vocals slowly increased in volume, pitch and attitude, so they then took central focus. To my surprise he stepped out of the DJ decks to accompany her on guitar. They switched again so he provided lyrics on top of her guitar playing. Finally they looped back round to her quiet vocals. Although there was only two of them on the large stage, they moved around seamlessly, utilising the space. She flowed around the stage, using different parts during different sections. They effortlessly flowed through different styles and instrument, proving they're truly multi-talented musicians.
The layers of vocals and instrumentation builds up a rich tapestry of sounds that takes the listener through a journey. From a light, mystical and ethereal start, transforming into a deep, melancholic and electronic prog-rock style extravaganza.
This whole performance is so filled with emotions, it’s impossible not to get swept up in it. You could really feel their pain and emotional trauma. Music has such a therapeutic effect, providing an outlet to channel feelings you don’t know how to otherwise express or deal with.
A hauntingly beautiful and truly heartfelt tribute to their cousin.