After an engaging, even somewhat hypnotic opening set from a well favoured Kyte (review beyond this [link] ), who can now be found carrying their own instruments to & fro through a dimmed room left empty, all that remains for now at least, is the vibrant sense of expectancy which clings to the void left behind by a gagging smoker filled audience.
The flashing ILT backdrop illuminating the stage and its close surroundings pleasingly draws the eye with images from their newly released DVD and what I assume to be photographic stills which summon yesteryears glory and the long lost souls from wherein such glory derived. Beguiling yet initially unnoticed by the ever strengthening crowd of thirst driven bodies, it’s not long before it receives the full attention it deserves as ILT slowly approach the bumrushed stage.
The macabre and almost medieval cynicism that remains constant throughout the ILT sound engrosses all present as it escalates and intensifies. The exacting execution is delightful and there will surely be no complaints pertaining to this performance tonight. All eyes are now understandably set on the stage, fiercely aglow with projection, in harmony with the fascinatingly animated white shirts donned by the band. Standing there spewing integrity over us, tsk, who do they think they are…ILT, that’s who, good on ‘em.
Their shadows cast onto the backdrop accentuate the eeriness of the spell cast over the onlookers. I notice they’re wearing black armbands (and no, they’re not Chelsea fans…you’ll see), it’s surely just a subtle gesture of respect for their precious subject matters. Eloquent yet understated. This, thankfully, is more than can be said of one of their more flamboyant lady fans, banging her head at the rear of the mob and intermittently stood to attention in her wonderful black leather hot-pants, looking every bit like Lara Croft owing for her busy txt thumb of course.
Stood front stage in a row now, they ooze the coolness of Interpol and in my mind’s eye alone I suspect, stir echoes of a famous Robert Palmer video (come on Ant, get your shit together!) as they form a secret sonic alliance, readying to reproduce the majesty of their studio work.
“We’re called ILT, how’s it going?” is barely heard through rapturous applause, their lead vocalist adding a human dimension to their absorbing, otherwise otherworldly presence. Attention is diverted as intense stares from celluloid children accompany more sinister sounds which peak with the lyrics “this is the devils game…and it turns me on”. By the close of a mesmeric song, the audience stands dazed and motionless in awe, only offering applause after a fleeting moment of recovery. Phew…
With only the short-lived text bound clues of an all too hasty screen, serving as insight into each songs inspiration, each songs meaning that can perhaps only be better attained by reading the ILT ‘Elegies to Lessons Learned’ essays or seeing the DVD, we move on concisely. “This is a breakdown” is the sung at the crest of this track, again leaving those who witness the magic unfold to simply stand glued to their spot. The epic music washes over everyone.
“So what you wanna talk about? Shirts on sale at the back…are we a real band?” Clearly uncomfortable pushing their wares on the crowd, they fall silent (though I suspect they’ve nothing to fear as hot cakes come to mind) as they stand defiant and true nonetheless. “Okay, a song for Notts County & Rotherham…a song about glory”, an unexpected intro that attracts something of an expected ‘en masse’ giggle.
Now, more brave souls stare down upon us from the ILT screen and shirts, enforcing the full impact of the explosive sound that calls out into infinity before surrendering at the feet of those who, in contrast, are responding with overpowered appreciation upon my return from the little boys’ room. Only catching the last minute of a track is enough to stir shivers, oh yes, this live show is that good.
Maybe armed with encouragement and hindsight giving direction, we’re treated to as bold an instruction as you’ll ever hear with the words “Our single ‘We Go Hunting’ (my review beyond this [link]) and our (aforementioned) DVD are (now) out Monday…go buy ‘em or we’ll beat you up…I’m not gonna carry on, there’s more of you”! Comical class, albeit superb advice too! I share an appreciative moment with Kytes front-man Nick, who notably, is as blatantly happy to be here as me and the rest of these lucky folk. We’ll all boast one and all, of the time we witnessed ILT scratch and spiral, crash and cascade their way through a blinder of a set.
‘We go Hunting’follows the explanation of an anticipated journey home to Leeds, their sorely missed home town from which they’ve been parted for 3 weeks. They thank both Nottingham and Kyte before getting down to a moody, atmospheric track upheld by haunting seascape images that together induce gut wrenching dread for all but Kyte, who busy themselves by taking their empties to the bar! A glitter blizzard engulfs the almost terrifying “Your position can’t save you now”, freezing the frame and slowing each heartbeat in perfect time for the incoming aural assault that gets wanting bodies moving more freely through this shared mire of ours.
The light of the merchandise stand (don’t be yelling at DVD compiler/merchandiser Ash for this guys) prematurely cuts through the receding drama and from the back of the room to the stage and beyond the bar and its mighty fine staff, it’s clear to see that admiration’s fused itself into every last thing. ILT temporarily leave the stage without so much a murmur, quickly returning for an encore that (at my last unfocused count) 9 people are gonna miss…suckers!
Back to business then, thankfully silencing the 3 giddy gals in the middle of the room who are oblivious to the serenity shattering gob-shite that they’re spilling out to the annoyance of most, ILT shift gears from the slow and sullen “I discharged myself today” intro. Rorschach ink blots (those predominantly butterfly shaped psychology test card thingy’s) join the frenzy now, propelling ILT to their climactic close and folk who reach double figures immediately to the souvenir laden stall as opposed to the usual suspect…the bar.
I take the time to grill a fan about the evening. He, a clearly delighted Carl Hobbs, had this to say…
“Watching ILT is the best history lesson ever… listening to ‘em makes you feel like the music belongs somewhere, it’s deeper than just lyrics and melodies… You can connect the music to places and eras of our time. The gig was great, performed with confidence and pleasure. The last song ‘beforethecurtainclose’, it just wrapped up a perfect evening at the Social. I was really impressed with Kyte too, their melodies inspired by Sigur Ros and Godspeed… they’ll be the next big thing!’
See, told you so! Before begrudgingly buying a McDonalds burger of some description and having a play-fight with a pesky stranger on the bus (who stole my glasses and bit like a girl before surrendering my specs in order to save his ears which I offered to remove, mainly for the sake of irony), I caught up with ILT and Kyte to congratulate them and to request their contribution for my planned interview articles, so watch this Glasswerk space folks, because they were indeed up for it! I left them trying to get into their own backstage area and they left me delightfully disorientated and free to wander the streets once more. A good night was indeed had by all.