Esha Shields + The Mekano Set @ The Gregson Hall Liverpool Sunday 3rd May 2015

On Sunday we will be playing live in Liverpool with experimental Dreampop adventurer Esha Shields at the wonderful Gregson Hall. It's worth coming just to see the space alone. Really looking forward to this one. Here we are watching ourselves rehearsing: 

Mekano Set watch themselves rehearse
How do we do that?

Esa makes some seriously unique, adventurous sounds; songs that exist like little worlds. His overall sound makes me think of the atmospheric avant-pop of This Mortal Coil but it's difficult to place his influences and reference points. I think that's a massively positive thing in an age where you can generally recognize a band's (limited, safe, played-out) influences within moments of them playing. 

So it's massively refreshing when you hear someone coming from a refreshing angle: doing something that is both experimental AND really melodic. So many people use 'experimental' as an excuse to hoard a load of over-priced electronic toys (or vintage instruments / effects) in order to make a directionless noise. I think it's way more adventurous (and challenging) to attempt to do something new within the confines of a 3 - 5 minute song, in 4/4 time, with groove and melody AND elements of experimentation.

Mic stand, cables and machete percusison

I've been enjoying getting my live guitar sound going again. I've said before that I take pleasure in the way that our guitar sound tends to offend guitar bands - even Shoegazers. Plus, our guitar setup is seriously basic compared even to your average rock guitarist's - which pisses them off even more hehe (we also use a tiny, tiny 5 watt guitar amp!). All of the droning / hi-pass filter style sounds AND the big guitar riff that comes in later on this (The Lighter) for example, were done with: 

Cheap guitar effects
That's not even a 'real' vintage fuzz box #shockhorror
(Korg ToneWorks AX1500G (my secret weapon)
Danelectro Wasabi Forward-Reverse Delay Pedal
BOSS - FZ-5)

We'll be doing some new songs, tracks from our latest E.P. and a couple of old favourites. We'll also be performing a traditional Imercian lullaby all about the Mhekan and his terrible curse...

Chucky plays cheap keyboard wearing a hat
Channeling the Mhekan

It's actually been a bit of a challenge to re-learn how to play some of the new songs live. But it's definitely worth it. Really enjoying playing Matchmaker at the moment, and exploring Fires Made Safe (one of my all-time favourite songs) with live drone guitar and live drums - no loopage. 

bass drum and melodica and Milk playing a guitar
A bass drum + a Melodica: essential tools for any guitarist surely?