SQUID // O MONOLITH UK TOUR // LIVE REVIEW // THE TROXY // LONDON
British band Squid is a rising star in the contemporary Indie-Alt music scene, known not only for their innovative sound but also for their electrifying live performances. Formed in 2015, the band has quickly gained a reputation for pushing the boundaries of post-punk and experimental rock. With a discography filled with intricate rhythms, unorthodox song structures, and poetic lyricism, Squid’s music is as dynamic and unpredictable as the creatures they’re named after. However, it is their live energy that truly sets them apart, making their concerts a must-see experience.
At 9.30 the lights in the historic 1933 Troxy cinema dim and the band board the stage to unleash their biggest track from the new album Swing (in a dream).
A slow build-up has the crowd on the edge of their, well, not seats but toes, anticipating the climax of the song. For a Brighton-born post-punk band, they have an ethereal and orchestral sound before their drummer and lead vocalist Ollie Judge begins to thumb his base pedal to get the crowd jumping and swinging their long hair. The band have a big sound, with a seven-piece on stage they are creating a wave of sound that hits the back walls of the venue and bounces back. The chemistry and rhythm between all seven of them is immaculate, the energy of a true rock band is kept alive and it isn’t long before moshes start to form. As the very British-sounding baseline of G.S.K starts, the crowd split ready to pounce. Watching this from the upper balcony I feel as though I am watching not only the band perform but a beautifully crafted performance dance from the crowd, a magnificent spectacle. I am blown away by the intricacies and sheer craftsmanship of Squid’s music in a live setting. Extremely complicated and wonderfully chaotic meshes of digitally generated sounds mixed with classic percussion have me unsure how exactly to describe this band other than modern geniuses.
Ollie Judge, the frontman and vocalist, is an enigmatic presence on stage. With his striking and theatrical delivery, he weaves stories through his lyrics while expressing himself with uninhibited passion. His magnetic stage presence can range from introspective to frenetic, leaving the audience in awe of his vocal prowess and boundless energy.
The rest of the band, adds layers of complexity to Squid’s live performances. The combination of intricate guitar riffs, deep basslines, thunderous drumming, and avant-garde keyboard work creates a soundscape that is impossible to ignore. Their synergy on stage is the embodiment of musical virtuosity and emotional intensity.
Squid’s live performances are like a rollercoaster ride of emotions. They have the uncanny ability to take the audience on a journey, navigating through different sonic landscapes and emotional territories. Their setlists are carefully curated, ensuring a balance between their studio recordings and new, unreleased material, keeping fans engaged and excited for what’s to come.
Songs like “Undergrowth” and “Paddling” showcase the band’s knack for crafting intricate and unpredictable compositions that keep the crowd on the edge of their seats. The transition from frenzied, erratic rhythms to ethereal moments of beauty is a testament to Squid’s versatility and the range of emotions they explore during their live shows.
The audience’s connection with the band is tangible, and their live energy is contagious. As Squid embarks on their sonic adventures, the crowd can’t help but surrender to the music, allowing it to wash over them in waves of ecstasy. The sense of unity and euphoria that permeates the venue is a testament to the band’s extraordinary live presence.
Squid’s live performances extend beyond their musical prowess; they incorporate art and visuals into their shows, enhancing the overall experience. The band often collaborates with visual artists to create a multi-sensory extravaganza that complements their sonic exploration. These visuals add a layer of depth to their live energy, further immersing the audience in their unique world.
Squid is a band that defies convention and constantly pushes the boundaries of what live music can be. Their live energy is a force of nature, leaving audiences in awe of their musical prowess and stage presence. Their commitment to delivering an unforgettable experience is a testament to their passion and dedication to their craft.
As their set ends, Ollie stood up off his drum stool to take the front of the stage and scream at the top of his lungs their vocally challenging track Siphon Song, the crowd singing back has left everyone voiceless, sweaty and extremely happy. The gig goers left the venue to be greeted by lovely November rain, however I didn’t see one person without a huge grin on their face while getting completely soaked. A truly mind-blowing sonic experience. What a night.
LOUIS BORLASE (guitar and vocals)
OLLIE JUDGE (drums and lead vocals)
ARTHUR LEADBETTER (keyboards, strings and percussion)