Review: Maps and Atlases @ King Tut’s 19/04/12
When looking at the bill for Maps and Atlases’ Glasgow date, it’s immediately obvious Nice ‘n Sleazy didn’t leave finding an act to compliment the combined force of touring duo Maps and Atlases and Tall Ships up to chance. We’d guess that Glasgow-based Trapped in Kansas were chosen on account of their ability to combine both delicate and brash overtones into their music in the same breath, complimenting the very best attributes of Maps and Atlases’ music. All three bands’ respective sensibilities blend wonderfully on record, and it became clear the same is true of their live sets too.
Having supported Maps and Atlases last autumn, Tall Ships have earned a place in the hearts of those who have seen them live before by way of their fearless approach to their live set. Opening with their recent release ‘T=0’, they make a big impression on any new listeners. The rest of the set continues in much the same way, Tall Ships’ boisterous, multi-layered music ripping through the audience, even during its more tender moments. Having saved the best for last, Tall Ships shut up shop with ‘Vessels’ whose line, “the vessel, that carried you and me, now sits at the bottom, the bottom of the sea…” sits firmly in the mind long after the song’s intricate melodies, consisting of looped guitars and pounding drums, have faded out.
After setting up their gear, which includes an eclipsing bass drum on a keyboard stand astutely placed in front of a handful of unlucky photographers, Maps and Atlases open with previous album teaser ‘Winter’. The song kicks the set off in an engaging way, ‘Winter’ displaying Dave Davison’s infectious voice and the group’s flawless dynamic in weighty measures.
As with material from Perch Patchwork, the group’s new work from album Beware and Be Grateful really makes an impact live. Maps and Atlases are never ones to shy away from playing around with rhythm, something that is evident in new single, ‘Fever’. The song builds wonderfully, gathering in the chorus which consists of a concoction of beats, played tremendously by Chris Hainey, centred on the lyrics, “Not even the best of us”. Material from Beware and Be Grateful is a consistent hit with the audience, from the sombre tones of ‘Remote and Dark Years’ to the excited tempo of ‘Silver Self’, Maps and Atlases prove their sound is better than ever.
Highlights from previous releases include personal favourite ‘Witch’, ‘Solid Ground’ and ‘Living Decorations’ which, when mixed with the band’s new work, makes for one hell of a setlist. Once Maps and Atlases leave the stage, the success of the night is proven in the reproving tuts that come from the audience as the house lights are put on, Nice ‘n Sleazy hinting that there will be no encore.