Gig review – The Reads – The Live Rooms – 4th October

The Reads, in support of Turin Breaks, 4th October 2014, Live Rooms, Chester.

You shouldn’t ever start with apologies but here’s three of the best. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to writing this, I’m sorry it took me so long to get to listen to anything at the Live Rooms and I’m sorry it was so cold.
4th October was probably the only properly chill evening of the Autumn and we were there early. And as my other half’s from Manchester he’s culturally excluded from wearing more than a t-shirt unless there’s snow on the ground …

And The Reads have some lovely fans. (Of course they do you say.) No, truly, these people are music tribe; not a one was there by accident; you can’t seduce these folk with some hack-packaged version of cool. While we stand outside they’re re-counting what gig they saw last and where. Some of them in days.


So it’s a relieved shuffle indoors when we get that far. There’s something about The Live Rooms that says serious, that they know what they’re at and how to achieve it. (And that’s not just the fact that they have draught vodka.)

The Reads open with Drowned. (Do you know that if you’ve seen a band twice you’ve fallen for them, musically? And if they play stuff you hum in your head, involuntarily, there’s no getting away…)

Drowned feels so close, so very nearby. That brave use of ‘you’; second person; drawing emotions onto you and they do this well with Drowned. It’s a daring thing because if it misses it grates on your soul. But they don’t miss; I am conspirator and listener, more than audience. Guitar melodies draw the sea, echoes and waves; repetition from which the words seem to be born. A first pass catch on the heart. I’m standing in a crowd of music tribe, they are singing the words too and that’s got to be one of the best feelings in the world.

But if you were new to The Reads? (How do you tag a band anyway?) The Reads call themselves ‘ambient-electro-folk-rock’ and that works. Drowned evokes big landscapes, as do many of their tracks. Lost At Sea from the current album and Galaxy Egg from the earlier one made an outing that night and they’re both huge, physical things too.
And slowly but surely the people who forgot to turn out early for the support start to filter in too.

Image courtesy of Paul Cozens
Image courtesy of Paul Cozens

Even from a standing start this music is infectious. The tracks of theirs that invoke the indoors and the intimate, Counting Your Greys and the thoroughly iridescent Scarlet, remind me that these guys resist any comparative reviewing. There’s a folk influence, but in the sense of a tune finding its beginning and growing outwards from there and prog rock’s big ideas and scale have a hat tipped to them. Instrumental lines stand apart, the one from the next, and there’s loads of space within the sound. Clare Goddard’s lyrics are poignant and direct, abstract in their images often but always emotionally striking.

They closed with Shifting Sands and I’ll offer up their lyrics;

‘Make no plans
because it’s out of your hands,’

And indeed it is. In a local scene that shines ever brighter The Reads are ambassadors to watch out for. The only criticism of the night would be that their set was way too short. Get out and listen to these guys, whenever you can. And I’ll make a bet that these are plans that you will have every pleasure in repeating…

Find The Reads here: -

and on facebook here: and for completeness on twitter


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