Arcane Roots – Stereo, Glasgow – 16/11/15

akgphotos-musicscramble-arcane-roots-glasgow-november-2015-1Andrew Groves, Adam Burton and Jack Wrench have come to Glasgow with one mission. That mission is to leave every ounce of energy they can produce on the Stereo stage while entertaining the massive crowd packed into the venue with a mix of high-octane anthems and math-prog ballads.

Stereo can be a bit of a sweatbox at times and last night was no different. Busier than I’ve probably seen the venue, which may be small in stature but making up for that with huge sound. Arcane Roots are in town and they’ve brought two absolutely blinding support bands with them in the form of indie-rockers In Dynamics – sharing drummer Jack with Arcane Roots since the start of the year – and Toska, a three-piece prog-instrumental band. Both bands deserving of a special mention for building and adding to an exceptional night of live music.

The Stereo management and security team must have known exactly what to expect on Monday evening as it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a stage barrier in use within this venue. The barrier did nothing to stop the crowd from coming together as one to sing their way through the whole set.

Easing the eager crowd into the night with 2014’s standalone single ‘Over & Over’ before belting into a high-tempo rendition of ‘Sacred Shapes’ which cranked it up a little more than a notch. With dueling lyrics of Andrew and Adam’s pre-chorus being sung back at them in an almost apt manner given the words to the chorus.

Arcane Roots are great at creating atmosphere, not only in their live shows but within the tracks they produce. ‘Energy Is Never Lost, Just Redirected’ is one of those tracks. A haunted opening makes way to a chaotic math-rock breakdown then back into a beautiful verse – emotional roller-coaster springs to mind. Every dip and peak received with maniacal cheer.

Recently released EP Heaven & Earth is a five-track masterpiece in the shape of all that is amazing about Arcane Roots. ‘Leaving’ from that very same EP is the first of the newer tracks to be given the live treatment. The tongue-tangling ‘If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’ bookends the track of the night and third from the same EP – ‘Slow Dance’. This is an epic song, by any standards, that is packed full of emotion and instrumentals that would leave the most skilled players absolutely gobsmacked. At one point during the breakdown Andrew is just staring out, swaying from side to side with a broad smile, stuck in the same moment as the crowd who are going absolutely nuts in front of him. What a sight!

I could walk through each and every song of the night but I don’t want to bore you with the same superlatives over and over, however it’s worth mentioning the end to this show. Just when we think the night can’t get any more special. Andrew stays on stage to give us a slow and powerful rendition of Blood & Chemistry‘s ‘Belief’ only to be joined halfway through by Adam and Jack who finish off the night with a quite fitting jam around Andrew’s spirited vocal.

With that, it’s over and we’re all heading home with a glow and rather large smile. Arcane Roots – mission accomplished!

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