Enablers - Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 9 Nov 2013 (4 stars)

The San Francisco post-rock foursome walk a tightrope between high art and base emotion

Enablers - Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 9 Nov 2013

Photo: Peter Davidson, flickr.com/almostQ

Five years is a long time between visits, and plenty can happen in the interim. San Fran post-rock outfit Enablers tragically lost a drummer, gained two albums and notched up a few European tours since they were last in town and, considering the fullness of Stereo compared to the attendance at their 2008 Nice'n'Sleazy show, gained a few extra followers as a result. The fiery invective of their 2008 track ‘New Moon’ provides something of an explanation, Pete Simonelli’s sardonic sermons delivered like a beat poet at the pulpit, intertwined with dual guitar interplay as sharp and inventive as his driving oratory.

Fittingly for such a verbose individual, Simonelli is pleasingly chatty, sarcastically taunting the crowd between songs and trading quips with the equally affable Kevin Thomson before launching into another eloquent tirade, flailing and pointing accusingly at half-forgotten spirits and mental mementos. ‘This is my town!’ he bellows as one of the night’s new cuts spirals up to its vehement conclusion, drawing all focus to him despite the jarring melodies and sharp, incisive rhythms being the ones that keep the bodies jerking and swaying. ‘No, Not Gently’ has a dizzying air, minimal yet whirling off on uncharted tangents, while ‘Patton’, Enablers’ idiosyncratic tribute to blues master Charlie Patton, thrashes and lollops on unsteady legs.

Over an hour, they walk the tightrope between high art and base emotion, stirring the senses with impassioned words and searing musicality. Simonelli is a moving orator, and the remaining trio have an ear for delicate melodies and counterbalancing forcefulness that whips up fond memories of Slint and Touch & Go’s glory days, but when these two forces embrace each other as fully as they do tonight, and every night they share a stage, they make for an experience so invasively stirring that few are immune. Fingers crossed, it won’t take another half-decade for it to come around again.


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