TEIGER , CABIRIA , KUNAL SINGHAL, LIVE AT THE HOPE & ANCHOR, ISLINGTON, APRIL10 2024

It's Prog Jim... But Not As We Know It!

Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media

London Prog Gigs… so the banner behind the stage of one of London’s best kept secrets. The Hope And Anchor plays host to those bands that are just starting out and more importantly, those that are going to go somewhere. Tonight’s show brings together three such artists. From a one person act whose brilliant use of modern technology can create a full band and choir symphony to the post metal sound and genre-free wall of sound from our co-headliners, this was to be a gig that suited any and all music fans.

Kunal Singhal

Chaos Theory have been promoters eclectic and markedly different shows around London for some time (so I’m told) so it was interesting, as a bystander to see just how many people came the see CT’s founder Kunal Singhal (who also does a nice line in homemade lemon soap – As a fan of Fight Club however, I was a little wary of them and need to understand what the ingredients are!) perform. Having managed a really nice chat with the fella upstairs in the pub prior to the gig, his win is in the use of a slightly battered loop pedal that does and doesn’t work in equal measure. 

The ‘doesn’t work’ element is that the pedal doesn’t help him keep to time (as it should) so if he misses his timing on creating the loop then it’s buggered and he has to start all over again. Not ideal when you’re playing live. The ‘does work’ is Kunal’s impeccable timing skills. During his set which blends his vocal talents and beats perfectly, he goes from a single beat / pulse to the sort of chanting that wouldn’t be out of place in a mountainous monastery. Cue vivid imagery of peaked hats, robes and layered vocals resonating across the snow capped peaks. 

He closed with ‘improv’. Oh God! not improv… but wait, what’s this? What if members of the audience want to add their own vocal elements, harmonies, cries and chants and create, there and then, a completely new sound / single / Top 40 hit? Too good to be true? Actually no, a work of art to be precise. One brave soul, the gig promoter I’,m told, stepped up to the mic and with a “my clockwork heart” delivered, so the rest of the crowd lent in to add their own special sauce to the mix. Before long, what initially felt a bit odd was transformed into something that, if it were on canvas, would hang proudly in the Tate Modern. Very very cool and very impressive from Kunal.

Cabiria 

Another act which made me ask “where is that sound coming from?” If ever music could be argued as a safe replacement for hallucinogenic drugs that Cabiria would be the case study to prove the point. Compared to some bands where you listen to them and wish you were on drugs to get through the set, Cabiria somehow gave me the fix that continued the feelings and vibes laid out by Kunal in the previous set.

Another act I’ve never experienced before but one that felt right at home on the bill with Teiger. It’s understandable why they were billed as co-headliners as their unique sound brought as many fans to the basement venue as the closing act would later on. 

How best to describe Cabiria…. ‘groove’ probably sums them up perfectly. Huge riffs, swirling soundscapes, tangential breaks that threaten to throw you off course but never quite do before the groove pulls you back into the throbbing heart of the song once more. I don’t know if was hypnosis or whether I simply got lost in the moment but the band’s set flew by… probably with me smiling and swaying like the special kid at the farm, stood in the field under a full moon. 

As I stepped back into reality, it was then time for the closing act of the night, Teiger. 

Teiger

For the record, I don’t do prog. Prog to me is the sort of thing Rick Wakeman plays and a 3 hour set will see 4 songs performed in full. If that’s your bag (and to be fair, Rick does pack in the crowds still) then that’s fine but it’s not for me. Why then (aside from the great beer on sale upstairs and the opportunity to meet great friends) do Teiger appeal to me so much?

The three piece have many things going for them. A drummer who could play a biscuit tin and make it sound like he’s performing with the London Philharmonic, a bassist whose groove laden notes transports us back to the original Woodstock festival and a lead singer and musician who wrings notes out of her guitar that simply shouldn’t be possible. When you combine all of that with haunting vocal work you have a band that simply cannot be categorised, pigeonholed or boxed in. Like I said in the header, it’s Prog Jim but not as we know it!

You could pick any adjectives to describe Teiger and they’d all fit. The music could be described as eclectic, full of wanderlust, dream fulled, and ethereal. It could also be seen as crystal clear, sharp as a tack, crisp, glacial, and trance like. Any and all of those fits the songs on offer and leave you guessing as to what will come next. Unlike the previously mentioned Mr Wakeman, meandering, dull, bloated and unnecessary never factor into those descriptive moments.

The brainchild behind Teiger is singer and guitarist Talie Rose Eigeland, who as you’ll see from the photos, looked as cool as a cucumber in her distinctive cowboy hat and necklace that gave her an almost Americana vibe. It’s her white electro-acoustic Kramer guitar that gives her a sound as unique and distinctive as it gets. I know of no one else in the London music scene at the moment that can make their guitar sound like Talie’s. Ever modest she’ll even claim she can’t really play which is rubbish as there’s no way these cacophony of sound coming from her amp is in any way accidental. 

Philip Eldridge-Smith on bass acts as the perfect foil to Talie. His bass runs and groove laden riffs give depth to the band’s sound allowing Talie to layer her special sauce over the top of everything. Jon Steele, the ever serious, ever focused, heart of the band sits behind his kit as if surveying his kingdom with every beat echoing out across the room complimenting the duo in front of him perfectly. 

Teiger are the perfect triangle. No one musician outshines the other, everyone needs the other two to present the true sound of the band and that sound, even with tracks like ‘Hydra’, ‘Sahara’ and ‘Splinter’ that sit firmly in the ‘accessible’ category, Teiger remains a real enigma. I#m desperate for them to succeed as I truly believe they could usher in a new wave of music to the country. 

Let’s see where they go next with this captivating sound they’ve created. 

  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London
  • 2024 04 10, Teiger, Hope & Anchor, Islington, London

 

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