Live Review

The Notwist, The Fleece, Bristol

There’s a sense of expansiveness that lends itself well to a live setting.

Performing a succinct set that comprises mostly of new album ‘Close to the Glass’ and their minor-masterpiece ‘Neon Golden’, The Notwist’s set at The Fleece proves that their deliberately calculated and quietly complex sound is still at home outside of their records. Further bolstering their claustrophobic songs with slight embellishments that only serve to enhance rather than detract, there’s a sense of expansiveness that lends itself well to a live setting.

Boldly opening with new album closer ‘They Follow Me’, the group slowly and intricately introduce themselves to the Fleece crowd. Headed by Markus Archer’s distinctively blunt vocals, their sound is surprisingly sharp all things considered. His vocals are just as singular and soft as they are on record, but it’s his backing that really allows their songs to flourish. With labyrinthine percussion and sophisticated guitar licks, their set is considerably more ornate than what’s on record. But this serpentine finesse showcases the brilliance that’s found within their songwriting; whether it’s the short and snappy ‘Kong’, or the acidic ‘Close to the Glass’, there’s room for each of the musicians on stage to breathe further life into the compositions, and to make themselves heard.

Playing around with joyful showmanship, the sounds extend, contort, and even louden in numerous ways in their new context. It’s somewhat of an oversight that they only perform material from their last three records now, but it makes sense. The sound is delicate, soft, and delightfully tangled; recognisable from the record, but interesting enough to warrant such a complex performance.

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