Northern Ireland’s Indie Prog-Rock quartet, And So I Watch You From Afar play a sold out Islington Assembly Rooms in London on 1st May. Verdict? Utterly Awesome! Suitably warmed up and ready to rock, the audience eagerly anticipate ASIWYFA’s arrival on stage. As the lights dim, a rumbling electronic intro fills the venue. This pretence seems to drag on a bit and the crowd get a little restless after a couple of minutes, but as the stage lights go up in a flurry of colour and dry ice illuminating the quartet, it matters little.
The boys kick off the set with “Run Home” and the crowd go nuts from the off. They put forth a formidable wall of sound such as I have not experienced before and by the time they play their 3rd number, “Wasps”, the mosh-pit is already very well established and the audience are loving it!
The set is a mix of material from their back-catalogue and the forthcoming LP Heirs and can be felt as much as it is heard. The music fills our ears with lightening paced drums and riffs which leave me totally awestruck. During “Gang (Starting Never Stopping)“, guitarist Rory Friers takes to the pit, playing his mind blowing riffs directly into the faces of the front row. Shortly after returning to the stage, the lights briefly illuminate the audience. Rory is obviously taken aback by the sheer volume of people here tonight “What the fuck are you all doing here?” He remarks!
The band’s stage presence is commanding, so much so that during quieter moments in their tracks, they silence even the most rowdy audience members with a simple hand gesture. The respect the crowd has for them is obvious and they take their lead with claps, silences and offering their applause for Henry Kohen of Mylets, for whom the band express their gratitude more than once. After this mention, Henry joins ASIWYFA on stage with a friend for yet another blistering number.
Departing the stage briefly following “Tryer, You”, they return for a three track encore which gets the remaining members of the crowd leaping like idiots and the nights first crowd-surfers flailing overhead. Even the pit-side security guy was openly playing his air guitar! Finishing with “The Voiceless” , Northern Ireland’s new kings of rock leave the stage to the roar of a well deserved, frenzied applause from their London fan base of which I count myself a part.
One thing was true throughout tonight: these guys have the most energy I have seen live in at least a decade, they were mesmerising and their music live is awe inspiring, making even their recorded versions seem to pale in comparison.
Take it from me, if you haven’t caught ASIWYFA live yet, you should do so without a moment’s hesitation, I certainly won’t be the next opportunity I get.