Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Fredrick Stanley Star @ The Wilmington Arms

Having developed a fair following around Cardiff, Fredrick Stanley Star are now venturing further afield to capture more victims, ...I mean fans, with their entrancing sounds. And London is their next stopping point.
The crowd at The Wilmington Arms are welcomed by seats, tables and fairy cakes which puts everyone in a comfortable and pleasant mood before the over-exciting and, frankly, annoyed compere ruins the atmosphere with nervous jokes but luckily he's gone quickly and FSS take to the stage.
Initially they're silent. Then gently brushed guitar strings are heard and the random, soft beat of a drum skin. The sounds almost seem to come from the air around me and the receptive crowd goes deadly silent. As the noises build and meander, the five-piece start harmonizing notes like a country village choir. It's beautiful. The music swells and bulges as bass notes are plucked and an electric guitar is sweetly picked. The vocals grow and suddenly everyone is shouting. The words aren't really words but their message is electric as is the atmosphere they create. I'm sure their double bass player is using two walkie-talkie to make squealing noises at one point, but the lush music seems to take my mind over and all I can think of now is the sound of leaves rustling and the chirp of a couple of birds.
Their music is very natural. It just seems to flow and the passion that each of the members puts into the performance is stunning, the lead singer's veins seem on the verge of bursting throughout the set. Each song climaxes in a flurry of crashing cymbals, bouncing double basses (literally) and visceral vocals that leave me breathless and euphoric.
Their final track, Devils Home, is even catchy with its chorus refrain of "The devil's home is not the only hell". They even make that line sound euphoric. And after such a tight and impressive set, they end that track on a blur of sprawling guitar noises and wooping, which just makes me like them even more. I love a bit of a messy raucousness.
So if you get a chance to catch Fredrick Stanley Star, DO IT. You won't be disappointed.

Fredrick Stanley Star - 500 Years

Photo by simonayre (not of the Wilmington gig but of their launch party at Clwb Ifor Bach)


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