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GENGAHR Play a Show at Relaunched Sebright Arms

The Old Blue Last takes over Sebright Arms for a series of intimate gigs throughout March.

It’s something different luring in the air tonight as everything sets up for Gengahr’s take on the Sebright Arms relaunch. The fluid feel dazing the audience in the darkened room bares little hints of jittering anticipation, though it’s yet to see if the band of the night can end this gloom?

Sporting their own mascot, a Gengar Pokémon, the boys enter the stage to the fading sound of Grimes’ ‘Butterfly’. Judging by the choice of outfit, guitarist John Victor might have something to do with that song choice as he’s dressed in a shirt of the anti-pop princess’ latest tour.

Soaring into Mallory Gengahr prove, once again, their skills as a live band. Though the four-piece fluctuates between old and new material, the East London boys keep a steady course through their dreamy soundscape.

Moving on with beloved track Heroine, the intertwined guitars and Felix Bushe’s falsetto align marvellously. The subtle changes in the melody break between intelligent minimalism and bombastic cascades of collective instrumental efforts. “Thank you guys so much for coming down tonight,” Felix says, giving the audience a rare moment of contact.

“We’ve spent ages working on our second album and it’ll hopefully be finished in a few weeks. We’re playing some songs from it for the first time tonight,” he states, before giving us the tight and mellow tune of Carrion. The floating and fast layering possesses that liquid energy Gengahr embody. Bringing forth new innovative twists, the guys still stick to the prime perspective of their sound. Another new offering Blind Truth exposes a juxtapose not only in the title, but also in the mounting energy contrasted with melodic fragility.

And the sore emotions continue as the eloquence fixed in the lyricism of Bathed In Lights tingles your heartstrings. The beauty of the sounds manifests itself in the stoic complexity that balances between the bass and drums. The fastidious percussion adds substance to the daunting melancholia.

Gengahr are a very special band, their introvert charm has them capturing senses that are usually lost in the rowdiness of a gig. However, their own universe seems impenetrable tonight. Their musical skills are impeccable, yet their shy glances and internal quirks have them coming off as a bunch of teenage girls trying, but not really daring, to confront their cooler crush – in this case the audience. With the song material there I sincerely hope Gengahr pick up their fate in themselves.

Their new material possesses a sense of melodic exploration. Going out of their way to thrive for something bigger than A Dream Outside they dear to be darker, heavier and dig deeper than previous material. Yet it is thrilling to hear the familiar effervescent guitar work of Embers slice through the air. The mellowness disguising the stern and ruthless rhythm giving the tune a duality in its presence.

“Thank you so much. I hope you’re having a good time. Our second album is a labour of love, and we’re so excited to share it with you very soon,” Felix informs as Gengahr delve into new cut Where Wildness Grows. The electrifying tune evolves on a foundation of hard-hitting groundwork. Hugh Schulte’s bass-lines hypnotise, the darker undertones collide with Felix’s high tones. The diverse soundscape imbeds tastes of shoegaze with melodic psychedelia. This tune really sees Gengahr push through their homogeneous tendencies and flourish with new angles to their beloved sound.

“Its been an absolute pleasure. Hope to see you again very soon”, Felix finishes, as the closing track She’s A Witch strumming intro hits. The tingling texture lets each element play to its own extent within the framework of the tune. Gengahr might be a demanding live band, not quite engaged with their audience, yet as the tune hits crescendo it is little doubt that they can play.

Photos: Aurora Henni Krogh