Squid at Scala

Squid were originally meant to play Scala for the release of their excellent debut album ‘Bright Green Field’. However, due to COVID, the gig was eventually cancelled. So this felt like a long time coming.

Opening the evening were Quade. I have mentioned these guys before. They craft expansive ‘math rock’. Intricately devised songs that seem both complicated and simple at the same time. I really like these guys. They are different from most bands around at the moment.

Squid enter the stage to cries of ‘Houseplants’ from the crowd. Ollie, with a smirk on his face knows something we don’t.

A few days before this gig, Squid announced their second album, Monolith. To my surprise, and I think most of the audience, the set drew heavily from their next album and even material from destined for album 3, while fan favourites like Houseplants were left uncared for in the dressing room. They appear to be heading in a new direction, away from the immediacy of their EP and singles like ‘Houseplants’ to a intricate almost post-classical direction. One song seemed to lift elements of Steve Reich’s ‘New York ‘Electric Counterpoint’ with precise repetitions played on the guitar.

I’m not sure Squid read the room right. While not abusive. Numerous people in the audience were noisy as they played their new material. A certain points there were lots of cries of ‘yeah’ that happen when people really don’t know how to process the sounds they are hearing and want to inject their own pace Into the proceedings. At one point there is another cry of ‘Houseplants’ from the audience. Ollie seemingly starts to play it and then launches into some materials. But some fan favourites did make the set, with the younger audience singing every word.

Leaving the stage without playing many fan favourites. There was an expectation of an encore. Even when the lights came on, no one really wanted to leave in the hope that they would come back, but it was not to be.

I honestly can’t decide if I enjoyed tonight or not. I am the first to say that bands should develop as artists, even if it means not brining the audience with them. While I think they were the best of Black Midi, Black Country, New Country, group, because of their ability to craft really danceable indie songs. I think I will like the new album. They have to develop into the artists they want to be. But I also feel it was a bit mean spirited to treat the audience who haven’t seen them for some time with almost gleeful contempt over many wanting to hear ‘their hit’. We had after all paid to hear them play music from an album they haven’t had a chance to tour.

Set List

  • Undergrowth
  • If You Had Seen The Bull’s Swimming Attempts You Would Have Stayed Away
  • GSK
  • Bank
  • Devil’s Den
  • After The Flash
  • Peel Street
  • DFM
  • Fieldworks
  • Narrator
  • Swing