FIELD MUSIC CHARM AND DELIGHT AUDIENCE AT ST LUKES, GLASGOW
Like the turning of an old fashioned wind-up toy, there's a kind of humble anticipation that precedes the first outburst of genius from Field Music; you know it's coming, there's a tension in the air. Still it strikes you with stunning velocity, a bubbling polyphony of cosmic sounds storming over a clinical backbeat. It's hard to believe there are only 8 people on stage, such is the immense intricacy and variety of noises they create. The band is a self-contained orchestra performing uplifting and progressive pop music so exact in its conception that they feel the need to apologise repeatedly for their errors, however unnoticeable. But in the band's own words "them that do nothing make no mistakes" and Saturday night in Glasgow is all the better for their efforts, flawed or otherwise.
There's an elated 'whoop' from the crowd as cracking lead single 'Count It Up', from the latest album Open Here, begins. With pithy self-awareness David Brewis spins privilege and positivism superbly. Radio-friendly 'Disappointed' receives a similarly spirited response from the audience but it's clear throughout that fans aren't only here for the easy listening.
In an instant everything is angular; there's racing, jolting piano and wirey bass synth. A cacophony of percussive clicks, pops, tings and shuffles lay out cross-rhythms too precise to be mere happenstance and yet the atmosphere remains one of spontaneity and surprise. Intense flute flourishes from Sarah Hayes compete periodically with waves of Pete Fraser's wild saxophone. Subversive lyrical undercurrents delivered through the Brewis brothers' signature short phrases are a testament to their wit and humour, as much as to their musical intelligence. Instruments are always changing between the two leads, with each displaying equal aptitude for drums and guitar whilst singing. That's not to say the music is too irregular for comfort; there are persistent grooves, steady beats and meticulous bass lines. It's just always interesting and never boring.
Each song offers a glimpse into the world of its composer. 'No King No Princess' addresses gender stereotyping and equality through the tender eyes of a parent. It's more fun than it sounds thanks largely to the joyous addition of Liz Corney's voice. The banter is top notch too; tongue in cheek comments about the rugby have the crowd on side but there is genuine praise and gratitude to the venue and audience for being so lovely and warm on an otherwise very chilly St Patrick's Day night. Not only are Field Music obscenely clever musicians, they're also nice guys.
The show concludes with an unplanned 2-song encore, one each from David and Peter in the interest of "fraternal equality". The whole evening is a monumental delight to the very last note, credited to the rare alchemy of this incredibly talented collective; perfect despite their imperfections.
FIELD MUSIC SETLIST: ST LUKE'S, GLASGOW - 17th March 2018
- Time In Joy
- Them That Do Nothing
- Count It Up
- A House Is Not A Home
- Goodbye To The Country
- Let's Write A Book
- Checking On A Message
- The Noisy Days Are Over
- Share A Pillow
- No King No Princess
- How Many More Times?
- Just Like Everyone Else
- Stay Awake
- (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing
- It's Not The Only Way To Feel Happy