Jane Weaver – Band on the Wall, Manchester – 19/05/17

There’s quite a bit of crass, boring ‘psychedelia’ around at the moment. Bands who perhaps listened to Pink Floyd whilst smoking a joint once and thought “ooh, we can do that!”. Jane Weaver is the absolute antithesis of this. She now has a rather large back catalogue of experimental, psychedelic folk and rock drawing from an incredibly wide pallet of influences, from Can to obscure Polish directors. Tonight she showcases her latest release, Modern Kosmology, at Band on the Wall.

She begins by playing the opening five tracks from the aforementioned new record, released just hours before the show. This makes it the first time most of the audience, myself included, have heard the material. The first impression is striking, with the songs appearing more robust than some of the more lo-fi material Weaver has created in the past. A tight four-piece band help to drive home this impression. The driving krautrock of opener ‘H>A>K’ gives way to the instantly hum-able ‘Did You See Butterflies?’.

It’s a night that showcases the variety in Weaver’s catalogue. ‘Slow Motion’ – Modern Kosmology’s lead single – floats across the room in a haze of pretty synth lines. Meanwhile, the guitar heavy ‘Loops in the Secret Society’ contains some delicious sounding motifs.

A couple of cuts from 2014’s The Silver Globe break up the new material, including a brilliant rendition of ‘Mission Desire’. Some of the show’s best moments are saved for the next slew of new tracks though. ‘The Architect’ is a delight of propelling synths and drum fills, whilst ‘Valley’ manages to become an instant favourite with it’s beautiful proggy guitar riff. The magnificent ‘Ravenspoint’ closes the main set, sadly without Malcolm Mooney’s chilling “we’re on our way to dust” spoken word part.

We’re thanked profusely for “putting up” with all the new material – but it’s a huge pleasure to hear an artist currently making the best music of her career actually playing that music, as opposed to relying on past glories.  Listening to Modern Kosmology afterwards confirms that Weaver has outdone herself.

That said, we are reminded of some of the other great music she’s made in the last few years with an encore of ‘Don’t Take My Soul’, the stand-out track from The Silver Globe – and the superb, sprawling ‘I Need a Connection’, which makes for a great closer. I leave knowing that Jane Weaver is pretty much untouchable in her field at the minute, and that Modern Kosmology is going to be getting a lot of plays over the coming months.

Leave a Reply