Blackfield with Pure Reason Revolution at The Mean Fiddler, London


Mar 8 2007, 17h37

February 16th, 2007

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have tickets to see the only UK show on Blackfield's European tour, at The Mean Fiddler in London. That would be exciting enough by itself, but even better, the support band was Pure Reason Revolution, my favourite new band in ages.

Since I was at least as excited about the support band as the main act, I suggested we headed over to the venue a little before doors opened. I think some of the others I was with were humouring me by heading over before doors, but we were soon glad we had, because we found ourselves at the back of an incredibly long queue, snaking back around several blocks heading away from the venue.

With such a long queue ahead of us, I began to worry a little that we might miss some of PRR's set, but in the end we got in in time. The place was absolutely rammed though; we ended up right at the back of the main floor area, although luckily we managed to edge up onto the raised bit in the middle, so we could actually see a bit.

I was a bit nervous about seeing Pure Reason Revolution, as there'd been some line-up changes since last time I'd seen them, and I'd heard reports of a couple of poor gigs at the end of last year while they struggled to adapt. Well, they must have spent plenty of time since then practicing and rearranging, because they rocked! From the moment the lights dropped and they came out and blasted straight into "In Aurélia", those worries vanished :)

It was a bit weird at first seeing the band arranged on stage as a four-piece, but as we were right at the back (and because they're all not very tall ;) ) we couldn't see much of what they were doing on stage. They did have projections to go with the music, which are pretty cool. But it was mostly about enjoying the live music, and that was as good as ever - they have a harder/rockier edge live, which makes for a great show.

Their setlist was something like this:
In Aurélia
Borgens Vor
Apprentice Of The Universe
The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning
Victorious Cupid
Voices in Winter / In the Realms of the Divine
The Twyncyn / Trembling Willows

"Victorious Cupid" is a new song that they're releasing as a free download single in late March. It sounded pretty good on first impressions; I remember thinking it sounded a bit like "In Aurélia" on steroids, but with more stop/start rhythms going on.

The only downside was that the sound mix wasn't great - a bit distorted and the vocals were a bit low in the mix, which seems to be a bit of a regular frustration at their gigs. But all in all I was very pleased with PRR's set, and it was a relief to see they'd still "got it" :)

There was quite a long wait for Blackfield to come on, with lots of clapping and stamping and shouting - you could tell this was a crowd that was really up for this gig (and hence the queues and the packed venue). I didn't entirely mind the wait, it was time to come down a bit from PRR's set, and an opportunity to get another drink!

Eventually the lights went back down and Blackfield's set started - with just the drummer playing the opening rhythm from "Once" for quite a while, before being joined one by one by the rest of the band. It made for a great start to their set!

We'd seen Blackfield's only previous UK show, too - at the same venue, several years ago. But they're much more of a proper band now, and they seemed much more confident and polished as a unit on stage. Aviv in particular seemed less nervous this time (but then I'm not sure how many gigs he'd played in front of English-speaking audiences before the last time).

From there they went on to play the whole of the new Blackfield II album in order, with older tracks scattered in throughout. That actually worked really well; it kept the suspense of not knowing what they'd play next, but it was great to hear the whole of the new album live.

There were lots of highlights to their set, but if I had to pick a few: Aviv's solo performance of "Glow" at the keyboards; Aviv and Steven playing a cover of "Thank U" (when they finally got the keyboard sorted out); a second play of "Once" (which I've seen people complain about, but it felt very different later in the set); closing the main set with "End of the World", which was an anthem in that moment.

Blackfield's setlist:
1,000 People
Miss U
The Hole in Me
This Killer
Thank U
Some Day
Open Mind
My Gift of Silence
Where Is My Love?
End of the World

Cloudy Now

It was pretty incredible to see two of my favourite bands play such good sets in the same show, and I feel very lucky to have been there. As we left the venue, my sister turned to me and said "I think that might be the best gig I've ever been to". While I wouldn't quite go that far, it certainly sums up just how good it was :)


  • RoisinHan

    Agreed! Was a great night, and I'm not especially a Blackfield fan but wish I could do it all over again! (And you're also right about the queue, I panicked about missing PRR too, it's not really something I'm too used to when I'm going to see them...oh well, maybe one day!)

    Mar 8 2007, 21h16
  • stopswimming

    I'm glad it wasn't just me :)

    Mar 8 2007, 22h05
  • BinarySlave

    Great review :) We were very near the front of the queue thankfully so got a spot right upfront with no trouble at all. That did mean joining the queue nearly 2 hours in advance though ..but it was totally worth it. Great gig that helped me get into PRR. I had 'The Dark Third' on CD and listened to it several times before the gig, but if I am being honest I just wasn't into it. Seeing them live seems to crossed that void though and I now think the album is great! PRR are now the first band I have seen live more than once :) And I managed to have a chat with the band after their Bristol gig last night aswell! :)

    Mar 9 2007, 15h33
  • RoisinHan

    More than once!? Hmmm, not sure if I should to confess to having seen them live 14 times by the end of this weekend...but I still keep coming back for more, that's gotta be a good sign!

    Mar 9 2007, 15h34
  • stopswimming

    BinarySlave: Thanks :) I would've queued a bit earlier if it'd been practical, but two hours is pretty dedicated! It's good to hear that seeing PRR live has done the trick though. Roisin: 14? I'm in awe (and just a little envious)!

    Mar 9 2007, 22h16
  • BinarySlave

    I was queuing for Blackfield really, I wanted to ensure I was at the front for their one and only UK gig. No second chances to see them so I wanted to be as close as possible! :) I guess that helped with the PRR penny dropping though, could see them playing close up which I am sure helped suck me in. Roisin - 14 times? :D I think it might take me a few years of them touring to get anywhere near that figure :) Good on you though, I am also envious! :)

    Mar 9 2007, 23h06
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