Lightning Dust – The Roadhouse, Manchester – Friday 4th December
By: Rob Gannon
Shuffling promptly onto the candlelit stage, and to precisely zero applause in the café-style ambience of The Roadhouse, Lightning Dust look an unassuming bunch. Joshua Wells and Amber Webber are perhaps used to larger audiences when touring with their psych-rock, day-job outfit Black Mountain, but nevertheless seem comfortable with the change in pace.
Their prominent and frazzled keybo-rgan, as well as Webber’s quivery vocal suit the environment. Her lyrics drift and shiver around the glitter-walled venue riding Wells’s waltzing plod, particularly on ‘History’. Lightning Dust are rounded out by backing vocals and alternating bass guitar and bass-heavy drums, and tonight’s set is largely and understandably reliant on this year’s successful Infinite Light with little being drawn from the debut.
As it is on the album, it’s ‘Dreamer’ that most catches the ear, a creeping and menacing anti-anthem, equally sparse and bold. Elsewhere, gentle strumming and mild drone provide a shoegaze-like quality, but the slow summery-psych expected of these mountaineers is dutifully maintained throughout. From the happy, eye-closing introspection of ‘Anatolia Jane’, all the way to the galloping Rolling Stones rhythms of ‘The Times’ and the purposeful cover of Budgie’s ‘Wondering What Everyone Knows’, Lightning Dust have found themselves a little niche in which few others could find profit.
The regular set closes with a special, near-country blow out, before a half-hearted attempt to leave the stage. The resultant encore is dominated by a large key change and melancholic mumblings. Lightning Dust leave as they entered, allowing the small audience to follow suit, shuffling out into the rain in happy reflection.