Lanterns on the lake: Live from the Sage Gateshead.
On Saturday night, North East and mercury prize nominated band, Lanterns on the Lake, took to the stage at the Sage Gateshead to perform this year’s first and only live version of their latest album, ‘Spook the Heard’.
With plans for the show originally to be performed to a safe, socially distanced audience disrupted by the announcement of a second lockdown, the decision was made to livestream the concert to the sage website for an audience at home. “It feels really strange and silly to say hello to an empty room, but I’m ‘gonna do it anyway”, stated Hazel Wilde, lead singer of the band. This followed the two opening songs of the album, ‘When It All Comes True’ and ‘Baddies’. This statement perfectly captures how, despite this new virtual home for live music being the new normal for both audiences and performers, there is still a strangeness and unfamiliarity to it that is worth enduring for the spirt and support of live music in this time.
The band continued the performance with ‘Every Atom’. The most striking moments of this song were the blended violin and guitar melodic passages from verse to chorus. These rang effortlessly and brilliantly more than true to the recorded version of the song and resonated through the empty music hall and out of our screens at home, creating a moment of united breathless gasps of wonder throughout a separated audience. Following every atom came ‘Blue Screen Beams’, a song that, combined with powerfully political lyrical content such as the discussion of “scrolling screens” and the redundancy of walls, with the timing of the performance in line with the presidential election, asserted more prominence than ever. This was only amplified by the nature and passion of this live performance.
Relevance and prominence quickly became a key theme of this performance. With lyrics such as “…its been a strange year and funny old night” in the song, ‘Before They Excavate’, which features isolated segments of almost silence. These segments seemed to echo through the loneliness of the venue that evening to the audiences at home and to the many of 2020 in a delicately profound way. This song continued to set the slowed down and often haunting tone of the following two songs of the performance, ‘Swimming lessons’, and the heartbreakingly stunning, ‘Secrets and medicine’. Before concluding the show, Wilde stated, “Hopefully we will get to play these songs live for you one day”, this message of hope continued to follow into the rest of the performance. As Wilde sang the lyrics of the closing song, “what a fitting ending oh what a perfect scene”, it became apparent that this was, in an unexpected and non-traditional way, a bittersweet, perfect scene of unity between music and its fans in a time of such a turbulent nature.
Above are the images I managed to capture of my screen, from the performance, the new normal of gig photography.
Lanterns on the lake were able to create the feeling and essence of a wonderful live performance, despite their audience being on the other side of a screen. However, the surrealness yet normality of this new setting for live music complimented and echoed perfectly the haunting and beautiful nature of the album itself. For example, ongoing fireworks outside added an element of impact and ambience to this performance that could only be gained from the unpreferred nature in which it was received. This performance was unquestionably memorable, beautiful and meaningful, invoking more excitement for the future of this band, when audiences can finally hear their music in concert, together again.
For more from Lanterns on the Lake click here : https://www.lanternsonthelake.com/ . Or watch this YouTube clip of one of their latest performances:
By Josephine Canham
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