Talk Music band from Georgia Listener played a voluminous European tour this summer. Trebuchet’s Jed Saint caught them at a UK gig, somewhere in the wilds of Hertfordshire.
An indisputably unique act labelling themselves as ‘talk music’ while flitting across genre boundaries effortlessly, Listener attract a good crowd before their set even starts – filling the time after sound-check entertaining themselves by having an impromptu jam on stage. It’s fun and inspiring to see a band so immersed in their music they seize every opportunity to play together and the people gathered sense this.
From the first song – ‘You have never lived because you have never died’, the opener from latest album Wooden Heart, the crowd are sucked in by the spectacle and passion.
Performing a set covering both old and newer material, Listener create an electric, vacuous atmosphere of mystification and strike the crowd near-dumb. The usual glazed, blank looks at the back of the room are replaced with attentive ones, and the unanimous claps and cheers between songs compared to the still attentiveness interspersed with muttering along during completely displace this audience from any other of the weekend.
The connection between performer and viewer is amazing. The biggest cheer goes to a stripped-down version of ‘Wooden Hearts’ which, despite perhaps taking a hit on musical atmosphere compared to the studio version, serves to further display the depths of Dan’s bardsmanship.
Yes, I did invent that word – for such an eloquent band, Listener are tough to do justice to!
At the end of the set, Listener invite the crowd to come and hang out with them – again differentiating themselves from the pack by downplaying the whole ‘rockstar’ persona. This accessibility serves to intensify the emotional impact Listener’s set has.
Listener are something else entirely.