LIVE REVIEW: Greywind, Holding Absence, St. Pancras Old Church, London, 27/01/2017
Before the gig, we spoke to Paul and Steph from Greywind about their album, their whirlwind journey over the last 2 years, and their plans for the future. You can read the full interview here.
As venues go, a tiny medieval church is a pretty special one to use for your first ever headline show, but then Greywind aren’t afraid to take risks if it means that the end result is something amazing. Even the very forming of their band was a risk – when siblings Paul and Steph O’Sullivan posted their first track online in 2014, they had no bandmates, and had never played a live show before. But that decision started a chain of events that finally led to them releasing Afterthoughts, one of the best debut albums we can remember hearing for a long time. So to celebrate the release day of your first album, why not do something special, right?
Opening the sold-out show were Welsh post-hardcore outfit Holding Absence, with a performance that was as intense as anything that you’re ever likely to see. The wall of noise that preceded opening track Permanent raised the hairs on the back of everyone’s necks, and the song itself packs a huge punch, which made it even more of a shame that they had to fight through some minor technical difficulties with the microphones. Once they were sorted out though, the five-piece really shone – the more melodic Everything was absolutely lovely, but the highlight was closing track Penance, a great heavy titan of a song that faded into ethereal, reverb-laden guitar noise before exploding back into life for a big finish.
By then, the anticipation in the room was palpable. A full congregation waited with baited breath as Greywind walked out onto the stage, pre-recorded vocals echoing around them, and when they opened with the crashing riff of Circle, we knew they weren’t going to disappoint. Steph has fantastic stage presence for such a small figure, totally commanding the room, and delivering her lyrics with such intensity that made it impossible to look away. And as the explosive ending of Car Spin faded, we got our first chance to hear some of their album tracks –The Lake is dark, Desolate feels more uplifting, and Stitch On My Wings shows their vulnerability, but all have their trademark stadium-sized choruses, and honestly, all of them feel like they’re already classics.
Every song filled the space effortlessly, with In Autumn a particular highlight – the intro’s ringing guitar echoed around the church like a bell, and the building’s acoustic turned the vocal harmonies into something that sounded almost choral. It turned out that risk of the venue had more than paid off. This was a perfect place for them to showcase their new record, and by finishing with the huge Forest Ablaze, and Afterthoughts, the song that started it all, it felt like they had almost brought everything full circle. What comes next for Greywind is a mystery for now, but if this show is anything to go by, then there are a lot of people who are very excited to see what it will be. And that includes us.
Written by: Josh Prentice