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Live Review:

Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir
The Luminaire 29th September 2009
Review by Will Bray. Photos Andy Hall

The Agnostics preach!

As far as anniversaries go this was a perfect celebration. Not The Same Old Blues Crap have their 5th birthday well and truly underway and invited to the party was Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir.

For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure, The Luminaire on Kilburn High Road is a very quaint little venue upstairs from its shop front bar. Far from the average ‘spit and sawdust’ type of club, The Luminaire generates a slick, lounge bar vibe which feels quite luxurious and reminiscent of an American prohibition era speak-easy. It is exactly the sort of place you would expect Not The Same Old Blues Crap to be hosting another cracking night.

From behind a heavy back drop curtain the agnostics appeared looking like characters from a Waits’ sea shanty. Undoubtedly they have the presence that you would imagine from listening to their records, maybe a little weathered but an appearance that they’ve been sitting on a porch in the deep south playing guitars all afternoon.

Without pausing for breath the Agnostics start almost instantly with ‘Life Is Long’ full of rugged guitars and a fast pace stomp. They have a very authentic sound with the two acoustics, double bass and a high mounted second bass drum for added guts. The set continues with songs from their recent album ‘Ten Thousand’ by slowing the tempo slightly for ‘Empire State Express’, a bass driven march led by a slide guitar with a rustic rattle.  Typically every track conjures an image, this being a stroll across the Rockies on a misty morning with an axe over your shoulder.

It’s fascinating to watch an atmosphere grow. The Luminaire really warms up as the Agnostics are so incredibly absorbing. The vocals have a very thick and gravely depth which gives a compelling finish to the overall sound. There is no holding back with these guys, simply one track after another. The first part of the show highlights the current record with big hitters such as ‘Dumb It Down’, ‘Go Back Home’ and ‘The Boig’. The set is probably 20 strong and takes on their earlier album ‘Fighting and Onions’. Bringing out the banjos and turning slightly to a Cajun influence for ‘Buried Them In Water’ but still carrying the thumping Agnostic signature. Following up with ‘Oh Sorrow’ and ‘Look Up, Look Down That Lonesome Road’ realises their versatility and inspiring musicianship. Finally cracking out ‘Weasel’ and leaving The Luminaire in awe.

The Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir are fantastic live and play an extremely extensive set. They have an undeniably classic sound which is delivered with huge intensity. It is easy to be sucked in and have the tunes rolling around inside your head for days after. The Agnostics leave you purely satisfied after a sermon of nothing but roots guided blues.