By David Stedman
On an evening when the England football team faces Hungary in the first match since the national side’s woeful showing at World Cup 2010, it is unsurprising that the crowd at Night & Day Café is larger than it might have been on any other Wednesday.
Yes, for music is the main concern here. While tears may not have been shed during their sets (and it’s not always possible to say the same about Team England),a mention must be made of tonight’s support acts. Leeds’ Hannah Trigwell (genuine busker-turned-YouTube-hit) and James Owen Fender (upbeat and engaging) are on top form, their reliable performances smoothing the way for The Domino State.
Dressed in black, Matt Forder (vocals), Tim Buckland (guitar), Jim Machin (guitar), Wil Padley (bass) and Rich Simic (drums) initially seem uncomfortable. The excellent sound engineering enjoyed by the support bands goes astray during the first of State’s ethereal, climactic songs, but thankfully soon settles.
Indeed, there’s something about the murkiness of the Night & Day stage that brings out the best in these intense, delay-loving outfits. Great moments here are the brooding ‘We Must Not Shut Ourselves Away’, anthemic ‘Firefly’, and soaring ‘This Oubliette’. While the Londoners’ widescreen sound is perhaps better suited to bigger venues — the associated loss of intimacy meaning this is not regularly endorsed by a music enthusiast — State make the most of their surroundings. Waves of guitar duly break across the room with hazy beauty.
Midway through the show, Forder is feeling confident enough to ask what the final score was in the England game.
Thanks to two Steven Gerrard goals, it turns out that the Three Lions battled their way to a stabilising victory.
Football, then, is where the analogy for the night lies after all, with The Domino State shaking off an uncertain start to deliver an encouraging result. In the saturated post-rock market, their tenacity serves them well.