Covenant/Analog Angel/Naked Lunch/Biomechanimal

Islington O2 Academy, London - 7 March 2015

"Their terrific set lasted the best part of 2 hours"

I had hoped to join my friends from Naked Lunch for this tour but work commitments and problems with my car meant in the end I could only make the one date in London. The o2 Academy in Islington is a great venue and the line-up for the night was great. This was date five of a six date UK tour, starting in Glasgow, then on to Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham, finishing tomorrow night in Bristol.

The first band of the evening were local London harsh dance outfit Biomechanimal. A two piece tonight with a very industrial electronic/thrash metal sound. To be honest not my normal taste, but they were good at what they did and they gave a very energetic performance. I cannot say it either had any real hook, nor was it the kind of music I could dance to. Sad to say I would not go out of my way to see them again, but then again it was interesting enough for me not to positively avoid them in future. 4/10

I have to state up front I am a fan of Naked Lunch, and I was intrigued to see them in action tonight as this was a new line up for me. The band had replaced bass player Sam Morrison (whose UK visa has expired) with Ade Pridham, also Paul Nicholas Davies was unable to play guitar live (due to ill health) so was on a backing track. That said, the new line up really worked well. Cliff Chapman seemed to be more energised on synth than I have seen him since the band re-united in 2012. They played a varied mix of old and new tracks, and the audience seemed to really like them, with lots of people dancing from the back of the venue to the front of the stage. This was possibly the band's best performance I'd yet seen and Ade’s bass guitar worked really well. There were also some striking projections by the band's VJ to add to the whole experience. 9/10

Setlist: We Are, Alone, Le Femme, Weekend Behaviour, Glow, Fade Away

[Jet Noir, Naked Lunch]
[Tony Mayo, Naked Lunch]   [Eskil Simonsson, Covenant]   [Andreas Catjar, Covenant]

Photos [L-R]: Naked Lunch (Jet Noir), Naked Lunch (Tony Mayo), Covenant (Eskil Simonsson), Covenant (Andreas Catjar)

By the time Glasgow-based Analog Angel were on set the venue was pretty crowded so I had to move up to the mezzanine level to get some shots of guest vocalist Tracy Cox, joining frontman John Brown. The music is of an electro pop OMD/early Depeche Mode sound and was rather enjoyable. This was the first time I had heard the band, and it has encouraged me to listen to some more of their material, and the more I think back the more they are growing on me. The band delivered a solid performance meaning I will definitely try to see them again. The new single, Your Breath, is currently available as a free digital download via the band's bandcamp page. 7/10

Setlist: Anthems, Touched, Drive, When You Called My Name, Cradle To The Grave, We Won't Walk Away, The Last Time

So onto the headline act - Sweden's Covenant.  As a self confessed synth geek their setup was great, made up of a lot of kit they have constructed themselves and as such it gave a very different sound. The band gave a powerful performance and their images were very strong. The music was quite ethereal in places, and if you are a fan of this type of music, they certainly provided value for money as their terrific set lasted the best part of two hours. As always with Covenant, the set comprised of songs taken from right across their repertoire, spanning almost thirty years; including Edge of Dawn from their debut Dreams of A Cryotank, through to four tracks from their most recent album Leaving Babylon (Leaving Babylon, Ignorance & Bliss, Prime Movers and Last Dance). The London crowd seemed to really enjoy the show. I hope Covenant come back to the UK soon as I would like to see them on stage again before too long. 8/10

Setlist: Leaving Babylon, Bullet, Figurehead, Ignorance & Bliss, Go Film, I Am, Prime Movers, Edge of Dawn, 20hz, Ritual Noise, Like Tears In Rain, Last Dance, Call the Ships To Port, Encore: Prometheus, We Stand Alone

Review: Mark Smith+Rob Dyer
Photos: Mark Smith