Walls / Circle Traps @ The Lanes, Bristol 25.05.12

Bristol’s The Lanes is a funny place – essentially a hipster bar with half a dozen bowling alleys and a giant courtyard – but the venue’s musical programming suggests an on-it eye for new talent. Support act Circle Traps make a satisfyingly big noise between the three of them – booming drum machines, live looped organ-chords and general laptop jiggery pokery produce a refreshingly ‘live’ live performance for a band using only electronic instruments. Every noise coming from the stage has some kind of hand movement to go with it – precious evidence that the music is being created in front of you, rather than triggered from a bank of pre-recorded parts. It makes a big difference, and raises their material above the fray in an increasingly crowded post-dubstep/electronica marketplace.

May 25th, 2012 at The Lanes, Bristol / By Adam Corner
Walls / Circle Traps @ The Lanes, Bristol 25.05.12 Walls – hotly hyped following a fantastic second album on Kompakt last year – are the main draw, but strangely the crowd thins out for the headline act. A duo comprised of the bloke otherwise known as Banjo or Freakout (Alessio Natalizia) and one half of Allez Allez (Sam Willis), their album is a weighty but ambient affair, sounding not dissimilar to The Field’s Looping State of Mind (also on Kompakt last year). But live, their sound is much more muscular – with Willis leaping between bass guitar and a bank of samplers and FX units, and both Walls members providing muffled, ethereal vocals.

It’s a beautiful racket. At times as pounding as a heavier act like Holy Fuck, at others as subtle as Junior Boys – and with a squelchy techno-disco heartbeat that reveals the Allez Allez influence. The druggy throb of ‘Sunporch’ and the euphoric warmth of ‘Burnt Sienna’ are greeted with cautious enthusiasm – although given the buzz around the band, its surprising that the mood isn’t more jubilant. However, Walls knock out over an hour of top notch synth symphonies, and by the end of the night, their expertly crafted electro stomp has at least some folk dancing.