I first heard Leech about 6 years ago, accidentally coming across the track "Totem & Tabu" on YouTube. Their almost 20-minute song became one of my most cherished in the genre of post-rock, and since then I've dreamed of seeing them live. The only problem was that these guys rarely play concerts, and even less often do they perform outside of their native Switzerland. So, when I saw the announcement of a tour in support of the new album, with concerts in Poland; without hesitation I got a i booked my seat on the flight! As it turned out, Warsaw was the most convenient option for dates and prices. The concert took place on September 9 at the small club-pub Pogłos, and also featured the Polish bands Beyond the Event Horizon and Thesis as supporting acts.
The club was a very small L-shaped venue, with a tiny stage. The maximum capacity can’t have been more than 100 people, if the place was fall you wouldn’t even be able to see the stage. What surprised me a lot (since Leech are pretty well known among post-rock listeners) — the actual number of concert attendees, including 8 musicians, BTEH, and Thesis, was only 25 people,not only that but here we were in the capital of the country and it was desolate!
Beyond the Event Horizon began with a half-hour delay and played literally in front of a dozen people. Musically, it's a good post-rock with electronic elements and the guys sounded very good. Unfortunately, they could only play a 20-minute set, however it was enough to stir the small audience.
Next up was Thesis, the only group of the evening with a vocalist in their line-up. The guys focused on the songs from their new album "Kres", which turned out to be more accessible due to it’s saccharine melodies than their previous works. Everything during the band’s show sounded very upbeat, and their music fit perfectly between the instrumental sets of BTEH and Leech.
Prior to Leech's set there was a vast array of merchandise available, with Leech transferring prices from euro to zloty at a very favorable rate, so I got two albums for a ridiculous zł 70! Ensuring I stocked up on my Leech essentials for a bargain price :)
After a half-hour break, Leech came on the stage, immediately starting their performance with the song "Dirty Seconds" from their newest release "For Better Or For Worse"; interestingly, the release only happened thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign. Despite the small size of the venue and the abundance of instruments, the band sounded excellent, all the instruments were distinguishable and perfectly audible, for most of the songs, there were using pre-recorded backing tracks for bass lines, but in some compositions, the keyboardist switched roles and picked up a bass, not only that but in some songs, where the presence of 3 guitars was required, he also handled guitar duties! In my opinion, Leech's performing style overlaps with another cult post-rock band — the Japanese act Mono: the same cyclical melodies into which, gradually, layer by layer, new instruments are woven: a guitar, e-bow, synthesizer, xylophone, which as the music progresses creates intricate and solid performances . Some compositions are slow and lingering, others incorporate fast riffs. A testament to the band was that everything sounded much more vibrant, more dense, and atmospheric than on the record, a impressive feat for a band that plays live rarely.
During the show, the group performed 10 songs, half of which were from the new album, and, from my first impression, it's an excellent release. The audience greeted the band warmly, despite the inexcusably small number of people, it was clear that those in attendance truly appreciated the rare opportunity to see Leech's performance, and the band seemed equally happy to play for the those few dedicated fans.
The set was closed with the incredible "Inspiral" — a 13-minute epic track from the album "The Stolen View", it has to be said that THIS was one of the most memorable endings of a concert that I’ve ever witnessed! If Leech dare to go on another European tour in the foreseeable future, then I’ll definitely be at one of the concerts, especially as the band promised to play "Totem & Tabu" next time, hopefully the merchandise prices will be just as good as well!
- Dirty Seconds ("For Better Or For Worse")
- October ("If We Get There One Day, Would You Please Open the Gates?")
- Melide ("For Better Or For Worse")
- Echolon ("If We Get There One Day, Would You Please Open the Gates?")
- Arrete ("For Better Or For Worse")
- Turbolina ("If We Get There One Day, Would You Please Open the Gates?")
- The Man with the Hammer ("The Stolen View")
- Sure! Looks Real ("For Better Or For Worse")
- Hell 8 ("For Better Or For Worse")
- Inspiral ("The Stolen View")
Report by Oleg Nikiforov
Text translated by Anastezia G. and Dan T.
Photos by Olya Abrisad