Post-rock instrumentalists ASIWYFA (And So I Watch You From Afar) return to London grace the KOKO stage at one of North London’s iconic venues for artists with strong, growing audiences. With it’s theatrical decor and cavernous appeal, it seems the perfect venue for a band that are used to making a decent swell of noise. With the release of their latest album ‘The Endless Shimmering’ back in October, ASIWYFA are an instrumental band that push their boundaries with each album, showing experimentation and unconventional time signatures that showcase their talent in many ways. However, within each shift, their trademark sound always shines through; perfect percussion, soaring guitar melodies, and rapturous crescendos.
Like many bands in this space such as Brontide or Explosions in the Sky, instrumental acts have some of music’s most loyal followers. What may appear as a more introspective experience than you’d experience with vocal bands, the music is often appreciated and enjoyed on a level that surpasses general passive listening. As a result, live performances are often where these bands will excel, with ASIWYFA being no exception. Following the supporting act Gallops, the quartet take the stage to an eager audience; noticeably excited following their latest album release.
Opening with ‘Search:Party:Animal’, the title time-indulgent opus from their earlier album ‘GANGS’, the crowd were easily warmed. It was immediately obvious we were in the presence of devoted fans, with an air of familiarity filling in the room from the appreciation of this 2011 release. ‘Like A Mouse‘ resonated with the crowd a little more and easily got the crowd moving; a respectful, lively mosh opening up was a welcome celebration for fans that had been following this band for years. Continuing their older tracks, it seemed they were building up to their newer material through a journey of old.
‘BEAUTIFULUNIVERSELIGHTSPEEDCHAMPION’ was met with screaming applause. The opening song on 2011’s ‘GANGS’, the track begins with a screaming chorus before breaking into its building verses. Their bounces between new and old bought forth a sense of retrospective due diligence. Their latest album seems like they’ve come full circle, containing sounds from their previous albums, so it seems logical that they’d return to nod at the previous tracks that got them to where they are today.
‘A Slow Unfolding of Wings’ bought their latest material in with welcome force; crescendo heavy and easily fitting into their set’s journey as the latest stop in their growth. The crowd were as excited about the new tracks as they were reminiscent of the old.
For a band that has been active (in some capacity) for over 10 years, their musical development and growth as a group is undeniably noticeable throughout their past few albums. Showing subtle changes, yet always staying true to their original sound, the band has built a loyal and devoted following. There wasn’t a person in the room that felt that they didn’t see the ASIWYFA they first fell in love with.