On Monday night I went to the Monkey Swallows the Universe album launch party at the Halcyon, having read about the band in Sandman and heard the party mentioned on Sheffield Live. MSTU are great, as I can verify from the CD I bought on the night, but I was a little disappointed with the performance. The band were obviously nervous and played quite sloppily at times, plus the PA was the pits and you could hardly make out the vocals, which are probably the best bit.
I can’t really blame the band for being nervous. The Halcyon was rammed full of people, two-thirds of who were at the bar or the other half of the room, talking. MSTU had to struggle to make their delicate music heard over this clamour. Meanwhile, the layout of the room meant that the "front row" was about four people wide. And those four people were all tall blokes lugging video cameras. Behind them were a field of smaller lasses bobbing up-and-down, trying to get a view of the band. It can’t be very nice playing when your only audience is four video cameras (I was in front of the cameras, but I kneeled down throughout the gig – god that hurt – so that I didn’t get in anyone’s way).
I took loads of photos, most of them not much good because I was shooting flash-less at 3200 ISO, and the disco lighting very rarely settled on singer Nat’s face. The photo on the left is far from the best one of the night, but it nicely captures almost all of the band plus guest trumpeter Anna in the pink light (Kevin was to the left of this picture) in a dynamic moment (as they played their final song, Jimmy Down the Well).