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Barfly, Camden, London
Saturday 9th January 2016

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


Antimatter are a British band who have been on the go for fifteen years or so and built a loyal following with their particular brand of dark, melancholy rock. However in one of those quirks of fate that sometimes happen in music they have been embraced more quickly elsewhere than in their homeland and UK shows are rare, headline shows even more so.

As a result among the expectant crowd filling the cosy Barfly tonight are people from as far apart as Scotland and Cornwall as well as others who have flown in from Sicily, Switzerland and elsewhere.

When you have a crowd in front of you with such passion for the headline act, the support don't always find it easy but London-based five piece Jade Vine make a good job of it tonight. Their mellow take on alternative rock is full of prog like twists and turns, vocal harmonies and some nice elegant touches of keyboards and guitar.

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Their set switches between songs from their Danny Cavanagh produced debut and their forthcoming new album and all are well received by a crowd enjoying the musicianship and the dark, atmospheric edge that they bring.

jade vine
Jade Vine

For me sections of songs were really impressive but as my first introduction to the band i didn't find a killer track in the set to remember.

Although there was much to enjoy I would say that their on stage approach is understated to say the least and they could have tried a bit harder to broadcast their name and even sell their merch but that's just a pet peeve of mine (if you're a support act you should make sure everyone in the hall knows who you are by the time they leave surely). Overall a promising and well received set though and a band to watch.

It was pretty cosy down in the front rows with the crowd edging forward as Antimatter finally made their long awaited appearance on the stage. Opening song 'Killer' from their most recent album 'The Judas Table' sounded bigger and more intense than the studio version, showcasing that they can give songs that are dark and personal a real rock edge when they want to.


Main man Mick Moss dominates the stage with his powerful, emotional vocals and the excellent band he has put together really do a good job of fleshing out the band's haunting, thoughtful material for the live environment.

There are some laser style lighting effects in place to liven up the visual side of the show but Antimatter live are all about the music and the crowd are almost hypnotised at times by the big, bass heavy groove of the songs and especially the heartfelt delivery of those dark, intense lyrics.

Off stage Moss is a chatty, cheerful soul but on stage he is happier to let the music do the talking for the most part. Fortunately the music really does the business for him and for me new song 'Black Eyed Man' is a brilliant example of what the band are all about.

The understated tone and restrained hook from the impressive album version are replaced live with a heavier, more powerful edge but without losing the inherent groove and feel of the song resulting in something really special.


Tonight's set covers much of the back catalogue as well as showcasing songs from 'The Judas Table' and tracks like 'Monochrome' and 'Redemption' get the same quality of arrangement from the stage and warmth and love off it from the adoring faithful. There is very little sign of people shouting for favourite songs, everyone seems to trust the band's leader to give them what they want to hear.

'Gagging Order' from his Sleeping Pulse side project goes down as well as the Antimatter material. When the sound is tweaked a little by adding the soulful, soaring vocals of Jenny O'Connor alongside Moss' grittier tones that works beautifully and is equally well received.


'Welcome To The Machine' is one of Pink Floyd's bleaker moments and it works nicely given the Antimatter treatment to close the main set. An encore is inevitable and 'Stillborn Empires' is a fittingly rousing way to end an evening of dark, mesmerising music from an artist of real quality and his superb band.

I have no idea why Antimatter are not better known in the UK. I hope they put more shows on in their homeland and start spreading the word as they deserve to be seen and heard by more than the faithful crowd they drew in to the Barfly.

Jade Vine:
beer beer beerbeerbeer
beer beer beerbeerbeer



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