Southern Gothic hits the Wirral Peninsula as Bambara plays their last mainland UK date at the visionary Future Yard in Birkenhead, after an already formidable European jaunt. Delayed by almost two years and a few venue changes on the way, we’re finally here enjoying a much sought-after sonic assault.
The band brings with it a moody, introspective atmosphere akin to something you would expect from a David Lynch feature. Saturating the room with somber tones immediately on opening number ‘miracle’, until the latter half of the song, at which point frontman Reid Bateh kicks the door off the hinges vocally. Between most of the set, he moves effortlessly from cool and contemplative to frenzied and intense, unleashing his lyrical attack looking like a young Michael Shannon playing method in a crazed and epic role.
The overall sound is explosive, hitting all the right spots and showcasing an accomplished live makeup without losing any of the dexterous qualities of the records. Although the group is ferocious yet brooding, they make it clear from the outset that they are a well-oiled machine, melding an impressive, galloping rhythm section with layers of lush Bayeux Esque synthesized backing tracks and gothic guitar lines, draping the audience in neo-noir darkness.
Tonight we are given an array of the band’s ever-growing back catalogue, but with a focus on the latest album Stray, and the recent EP Love On My Mind. Stand-out tracks are ‘stay cruel’ from the former and ‘feelin’ like a funeral’ from the latter. We are even treated to the live debut of ‘little wars’, a definite plus for the Tuesday night crowd here this evening.
With more dates on the other side of the Irish sea and a swift handful of shows in the US and Canada once they fly back, let’s hope they don’t tire themselves out too much and return to the UK sooner rather than later.
Author: Dan Kasm