Around the household we’ve been listening to Area 11 since the Yogscast featured the instrumental section between “Vectors” and “Euphemia” as part of the theme music for their Minecraft videos. (Curiously, in the original version of their album All The Lights In The Sky that I bought on iTunes in 2013, that section is at the end of “Vectors”; if I play the album on Spotify now, it comes at the start of “Euphemia”. The two tracks flow into each other seamlessly, but I wonder why the track division has changed.)
Their first album was amazing, easily one of my favourites of 2013. They put out an EP and toured the UK towards the end of 2014, but the timing didn’t work out for me to catch them live. Earlier this year we caught wind that they were going to be bringing out a new album, and touring again. This time, the timing worked out perfectly: they played The Mash House in Edinburgh on Wednesday 20 July, right in the middle of Alex and Fiona’s school summer holidays. With me still flying to Edinburgh for work every other week, it was easy for me to line up a business trip and bring the two of them with me as well!
Fiona and I have been to a variety of concerts over the last year, but The Mash House is by far the smallest venue we’ve been to. Alex was with us for Imagine Dragons back in February as well, and this was smaller than anything he has experienced too. The Mash House is accessed from a small door down a tiny alleyway just off Chambers Street. There’s a bar at the front of the house, and a 250 person capacity suite further in. It wasn’t full, and we were able to get a good position just four or five heads from the stage. Alex is 180cm tall now, so he had a good view. Fiona is still a fair bit shorter, and she had to weave around to see everything. I’m not sure if I was the oldest person in the crowd (again), but I certainly wasn’t far off.
Opening act Milestones were good. In the break before Area 11 came on, Sparkles* wandered from the back of the room to the stage a couple of times to check the setup, looking very serious and concentrated. (In promotional photos he often wears a stern frown; I think because otherwise he’d be mistaken for an adorable teddy bear.)
- Override [C]
- The Contract
- In the Blind
- After the Flags
- Angel Lust
- Dream & Reality
- All the Lights in the Sky
- Heaven-Piercing Giga Drill
- Tokyo House Party
Now, Alex can be quite sensitive to loud noise, and he isn’t generally a big music fan. Live music is mostly take it or leave it for him. But by the end of this gig he was jumping along to the beat, and pumping his fists in the air with a great big grin. I loved it, too. I particularly appreciated the sound engineering that allowed Jonathan “Kogie” Kogan’s bass to shine through. At first listen, Area 11 are very heavy on vocals and guitars, but when you go listening for it, the bass is amazing.