Jane Weaver has an arresting singing style of ethereal annunciation. Over pulsating synth folk, she delivers transcendental, dangerous lyrics, which offer a glimpse into otherworldliness.
Performing to a sold-out Bullingdon, it was a pleasant exception to see a lead singer so decidedly ‘in the zone’ as she sang. Weaver was certainly aware of the audience, but she didn’t play to the crowd. Instead her performance was gestural and expressive, a deliverance rather than a conversation: fitting for a set coming from the outer edges.
Before Weaver though, we were treated to the shamanic chants of ‘Protection Spells’. The lead singer’s outstanding voice made this support act both worthy of mention and further investigation. Haunting and intense, they built the atmosphere well for Weaver. And so, to her.
Blending krautrock, psychedelia and mysticism, Jane Weaver gave us something few others offer. Without a doubt the most arresting tracks of the evening were from Weaver’s latest album, Modern Kosmology. The title track and ‘Slow Motion’ both snapped you up immediately and ‘The Architect’ was possibly the highlight of the whole evening. Sharp, upbeat and defiant, the track is irresistible.
A formidable band supported Weaver in her shifts between dimensions; and when they clicked, they really clicked. Occasionally syncing into a building, repetitive phrase, their sound became a trance that would pulse with increasing intensity to climax.
The keyboard player, whose main job, it seemed, was to make strange noises and beeps from space with his array of pedals and buttons, was brilliant (as someone in the crowd was keen to point out, much to Weaver’s feigned chagrin). And the bass player was fascinating to listen to, brought right to the fore, rather unusually, as the melodic lead on a few tracks.
All of this said, however, the high frequency vibe reverberating from stage to crowd wasn’t consistent. Rather than whipping you into a frenzy, some tunes merely left you bobbing along to a tick-tock beat that failed to take off.
For a performance to keep you entranced throughout is a high standard to set for a gig, but it’s the promise that Weaver and her much acclaimed album seemed to make. Certainly at no point was Weaver disappointing or bad: her set was enjoyable, undulating and accomplished. But it was also punctuated with significant peaks and you just whish they could have lasted little longer.