The support act walks shyly onto the stage in the dark yet atmospheric Fleece in Bristol. She introduces her band, Mariam The Believer. Once all introductions are done, the band start playing and the shy woman that walked onto the stage a minute before transforms into an edgy, confident, psychedelic, progressive rock star. She blew the audience away with her powerful voice and meaningful lyrics. Mariam Wallentin was a fantastic front woman – she is a modern day Patti Smith. She has angst, confidence and showmanship that will carry her a long way. If the support band were anything to go by then this looked to be a breath-taking gig.
Junip finally made their appearance after Mariam The Believer had received their well deserved applause. Kick starting the evening off with popular track Black Refuge taken from the band’s EP released in 2005, Junip instantly pleased the crowd. Their music floated through the air and created an ambience that suited the venue perfectly.
Junip’s meditative rhythms and melodies had such an effect on the listeners that the whole of The Fleece fell silent as Junip played their set list. Covering tracks from Fields and the more recent self-titled album, Junip managed to create the perfect gig. With the lights on the stage set low, all Junip had to do was play those sweet, dreamlike rhythms and they had the audience in the palms of their hands.
Carefully picking songs from their recent album such as Suddenly, So Clear and Villain as well as the single releases, Line Of Fire, Your Life Your Call and the more recent single, Walking Lightly, Junip ensured their fans were satisfied. Gonzalez’ vocals sung so softly into the microphone managed to fill the room with calm and serenity. The band performed with precision helping to create that wonderfully, dreamy music that you instantly fall in love with.
When listening to Junip on CD, you can’t fully appreciate how many different layers of instruments are used to create the sound Junip have become recognised for. Seeing them live is a whole other ball game. During tracks Suddenly, So Clear and especially Walking Lightly, you had the chance to see how the instruments used integrated with each other. There is a level of complexity and craftsmanship in Junip’s music that will never fail to mesmerise audiences. Walking Lightly is an outstanding track when performed live – Junip gave it their all; energy, enthusiasm and most important of all musicianship.
Ending with the slower number, After All Is Said And Done, allowed Junip to leave the lingering tones flowing around in their listeners’ heads as they exited the room. The lights were switched back on which shot The Fleece into brightness. The lights revealed happy, placid faces.
Junip are a band that please you when you listen to their albums but they are a band that blow you away when you see them perform live. They are comfortable on stage, they make it look so easy as if they could all do it with their eyes closed. They don’t play with effort – they are seamless. If anything this just helps to add to the ambience of their gigs. You can’t help but love this band.