Jane Weaver, Immix Ensemble: Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool

Jane Weaver

Jane Weaver

Down in the crypt concert room where phone reception barely reaches, ’cause why would the dead need phones, Getintothis’ David Hall resided for this unique live offering.

The pitch for Jane Weaver‘s latest Liverpool gig was an intriguing one; her recent album Modern Cosmology, given an avant-garde classical rearrangement and reinterpretation in the live setting by Immix Ensemble. It was a proposition we just couldn’t turn down, and proved itself a winning formula.

If you’ve never been to Lutyen’s Crypt for a gig, get down there – literally – as soon as possible. The atmosphere as soon as you enter is truly unique. Austere yes, but not spooky at all, in fact far more sublime.

Every concave surface down there feels like a natural acoustic amplifier, so although some sound echoes, it’s pleasing on the ear. The place is also warm and stately, mercifully not cold as the grave.

Before Jane Weaver, a composition from Immix‘s 2017/18 composer in residence Andrew Hunt was previewed. The piece was a twitching, eye blinking affair, a staccato pulsing synth line on which the quarter’s string and brass writhed. There were almost kraut-rock esque cello lines that squirmed over the drilling, insistent synth line, while brass beat a more avant garde path through things. Overall, it was an impressive mood-setter.

Following the opening suite, Jane Weaver appeared stage right and Immix bolstered to a sextet for the main event titled Kosmologie Ancienne. Weaver‘s guitar droned, often on the same figure for whole movements as brass approximated basslines and strings provided colour all around her.

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Her voice was stunningly bewitching throughout, and the arrangements extensive extrapolations from the source material.

Sam Wiehl‘s visual accompaniment felt like something of a missed opportunity on the other hand. We’re not sure exactly what we were expecting, but Weaver’s shows are always so vivid and vibrant.

With a lack of movement onstage, the audience was forced to look to the visuals. Which would’ve provided an impressive backdrop to a gig, but as a focal point they seemed slightly lacking.

Maybe the frequently revisited motif of orbiting spiral galaxies was a little too literal an interpretation of the cosmological theme. But Wiehl‘s work at past Psych Fests has been more striking and importantly more immersive, which felt missing in part at Lutyen’s Crypt.

The Crypt itself though provided an appropriately cyclopean setting to this special-feeling show, part gig, part recital. It just goes to show what a difference a perfectly matched venue can make in the live arena.

Photos by Getintothis‘ Lucy McLachlan