The changeover between sets left an almost limbo feeling, it’s hard to adjust from such a heavy opener back to hovering in anticipation, but the atmosphere rose as the venue filled up.
The Soft Moon, normally just Luis Vasquez but the lineup for this European and US tour earlier this year comprises of Luis, Matteo Salviato on bass and Matteo Vallicelli on drums. Described as “neo-post-punk” I think that’s spot on. Since the days of Joy Division into New Order, The Killing Joke, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure, there have been several mini waves of bands emulating the essence of that movement. The Editors and White Lies came the closest I think, lyrics brought again to the fore, orchestration and guitar tone clearly under that influence.
Here then is the heart and soul of Luis Vasquez. He has successfully managed to properly update the sound, bringing all elements into play with guitars, synth samples, Hook’s basslines, vocal effects and the sacred drum beats of Stephen Morris. And yet, this time around, it’s so clearly as modern as any other subset of electronica. The pounding triggered samples, the doubled up synthetic and live basslines, the power of the sound far exceeds expectation from the usual group of guys desperately clutching on to the same sound 30 years on. They are not that group.
The whole set was ballsy, launching into “Black” straight away, keeping that relentless percussion up into “Deeper” a few tracks on, and the much celebrated “Far”. Their energy and stage presence, swathed in shadows at all times, never faltered. It’s clear they’re mid tour, their craft together is honed and tight as hell, the wash of noise and thumping beat is undoubtedly fuller than their recorded offerings. Although his releases are polished and compressed with vocals far higher in the mix, the live set is completely absorbing.
I’d like to see what more he will do vocally, the voice and lyrics are there but I wanted more (the singer in me clearly getting my two cents in). But then again, that’s not what he’s about. The chanting and repetition leave you hypnotised and wanting more. The set was worthy of syncing to the next Drive film easily and they had the live energy you don’t see as much in electronic music at the moment; adding in the two Matteos elevated the sound into post-punk heaven.
Unfortunately they have left the UK again, travelling across Europe until festival season, but I urge you to listen, right now.