Monotreme's 10th anniversary
65daysofstatic - Live At The Garage, London

The Garage might have changed over the years and might have seen many a lick of paint splashed onto its walls but one sole fact remains: “It still smells like shit,” according to 65daysofstatic guitarist Paul Wolinski. The smell of human faeces is not going to put off this sold-out crowd from enjoying themselves though. Their appearances in London rarely fail to sell out, even on nights like this when they don't even have a new LP to promote.

This show is the conclusion of a short European tour that marks their return to live action after a year's break (aside from a few ‘Silent Running’ soundtrack shows here and there at the odd cinema and music festival), and there is plenty to celebrate tonight given that this gig is being held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the label that gave them their break, Monotreme. The band themselves, who have had mixed experiences of playing the capital, even say towards the end that this is one of their more “relaxed London shows.” The all-round atmosphere is a positive one and, for the hour that they're on stage for, they remind the 600-capacity crowd why their presence on the live circuit in 2011 was much-missed.

When it comes to their performance 65daysofstatic are anything but motionless as they pound away at drums and get lost in their own mix of fizzy electronics and more traditional post-rock guitars and it's this that makes them so captivating to watch. Their opening ambush ('Piano Fights', 'Crash Tactics', 'Dance Dance Dance' and 'Weak4') is devastating and unrelenting. Thankfully, they know exactly when to take things down a notch – the middle section presents a breather in the way of the beautifully atmospheric 'Burial Scene' from their ‘Silent Running’ score and a new song that hints at a return to the days of debut LP ‘The Fall Of Math’ and is certainly more measured-sounding than any of their most recent output.

The set overall leans heavily on cuts from their most recent record, ‘We Were Exploding Anyway’, and it's this aesthetic that remains incredibly satisfying – almost to the point where older cuts like 'This Cat Is A Landmine' and 'Retreat! Retreat!' feel like songs from another band. That isn't to say they're not well-received or good songs but it just goes to show how far the Sheffield quartet have come in a decade.

The highlight of the gig comes from 'Radio Protector', which starts serenely as piano notes are played at varying speeds. As the tension builds and builds you can feel the anticipation around the venue before it bursts into life and continues to ascend upwards from there in terms of drama and intensity. It remains one of their defiant moments from their back catalogue and it's a fitting conclusion to their main set.

If you were to nit-pick you could argue that the setlist could have been longer and that the sound levels for certain songs seemed a bit off but that shouldn't take anything from what is a highly enjoyable evening. It's good to have 65daysofstatic back.

Words by Max Raymond
Photo by Rachel Lipsitz

And click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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