The Bulbs

The Capstone Theatre
3rd March 2012

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan

Neil Campbell is renowned for his skills as a guitarist, and those who have seen his pitch perfect, eyes closed in concentration performance are unlikely to disagree. So when I heard his latest project was the intriguingly named The Bulbs I was keen to hear what this fearlessly experimental performer had in store for us.

This time round it's a group effort with members of Liverpool's The Zeb and the Neil Campbell Collective coming together to make quartet of supreme talent. From the moment they appeared, almost silently, on the stage the music was unpredictable, charged and frankly excellent. It's rare to go to a gig and be so impressed that you want to hear it again immediately but on this occasion that's exactly how I felt.

Although the Capstone usually houses Jazz and Folk artists who rarely employ industrial edged riffs and politically charged voice samples into their work, The Bulbs were a slightly different prospect in sound and a perfect fit for the ever-excellent venue in ethos and mood. Like The Portico Quartet who have played here previously, they took seemingly disparate elements of rock, jazz instrumentals and found sound and vocal samples to create something intriguing and, most of all, bewitching. Although song titles were not mentioned on the night, this was for once not an issue as the music did all the talking and left the band with nothing to worry about but the frequency of standing ovations as witnessed during the encore. This was made more significant as it was a song already performed due to the band having only been working together on them for the past year.

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