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Lift To Experience, Summerhall, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live

 Image:- Julia Stryj

In preparation for tonight's show I played Lift To Experience's (seminal?) album The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads for the first time in over a decade. It made little impact on me, which is probably why I played it so infrequently when I actually owned it. Frontman Josh T. Pearson has a legion of devotees I know but I've zero idea of what he's done in the years since that album came out although he was recently described to me as a sub-Father John Misty type preacher so I think I've a reasonable idea.

Support tonight turned out to be provided by Meursault, a seemingly handy occurrence as I’d never yet heard their more folky sound or seen them since their recent reformation. Technically, however, I’d say I still haven’t seeing as onstage there was only a dour, acoustic duo of Neil Pennycook and a violinist. There was a good amount of dry wit forthcoming, blether about Charlie Brown and sentiments about sea songs with which most there seemed to agree with but, given the oppressive heat of the hall, this wasn’t the greatest set to stand through.

Still, as Pennycook himself was well aware, Lift To Experience were everyone’s reason for shelling out £30+ to swelter so he did his bit with aplomb & vacated the stage on time. Only for the headliners to unfortunately be a bit late & then suffer some technical issues through the first couple of songs. Doubly frustrating from them and Lee from Leeds as they’d spent a couple of hours prior working on perfecting the sound in the hall and ensuring their transported equipment married up with Summerhall’s electrics.

A working Leslie pedal was though duly installed and the trio’s sound, already decently loud and defined, gained a further edge to put it in front of that heard on the album. Whilst Pearson’s vocals were largely lost in the music that was easily made up for with the sonically invigorating sounds produced by the group’s evident hard work. All three consistently looked like they were in their element and never happier than when onstage.

Between songs Pearson had a very engaging line in banter, clearly understanding the Edinburgh/Glasgow cheek he came out with rather than parroting someone else’s suggestion, along with honest & unique chat aside from that. Selfies (or “handjobs”) with the crowd and the band’s steer skull mascot were taken prior to the final song of the album set, rounding out one of the best atmosphere’s I’ve seen at a show in a long time.

Pearson returned to do a one man encore of ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ which saw a decent number of audience members singing along before he graciously and gratefully called an end to the proceedings. I still don’t see myself rating The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads highly as an album but as a live experience it’s in a different league. 


Meursault, The Lexington, London

  • Published in Live


Having called time in 2014, Meursault are back, and The Lexington is a fitting venue for the launch of their first release in 5 years, I Will Kill Again. It feels intimate, despite being packed to the rafters, allowing a palpably thrilled Neil Pennycook the space he and his band need to deliver an animated performance of their new material.

They are supported by Faith Eliott, who regales twisting tales over beautiful folk strumming, before effortlessly switching gears to contribute backing vocals for Meursault.

Minor sound issues hamper the beginning of Meursault’s set, but there’s no stopping this comeback. They find their feet during a storming rendition of ‘By Gaslight’ from recent EP Simple Is Good, with Pennycook’s voice cutting powerfully through the wall of noise his band are capable of producing.

Understandably after a short hiatus, most of the attention is given to the band’s new material, as they air tracks such as ‘Belle Ami’, ‘The Mill’, and of course the title track, ‘I Will Kill Again’. As the latter picks up, Pennycook calls upon a guitar tech take his stead, freeing himself up to leave the stage to drive through the crowd microphone in hand, for a frenzied finale which leaves his amp thrown to the ground, and his glasses nowhere to be seen. Pun not intended.

In stark contrast, another highlight was I Will Kill Again’s ‘Ode To Gremlin’, which Pennycook delivers without any amplification whatsoever. He manages to hush the crowd momentarily, but they soon join in on vocals and percussion by way of stomping on the beer-soaked floor. The track focuses on heartbreak, acknowledging the well-trod ground of the subject matter, as he belts out the refrain of, “the last thing the world needs now, is another song about the fucking sea.”

They are called out for an encore, and true to form, they perform the brilliant ‘Flittin’’ from 2012’s Something For The Weakend. This gives the band a final opportunity to signal their return with another explosive performance. The song ends with Pennycook handing vocal duties to an overzealous fan in the crowd as he falls to the floor of the stage.

It’s these moments that not only make Meursault an impressive live act, but show how excited both Pennycook and their fans are about their return, leaving few doubting that they’re back stronger than ever.

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