Alex Munk’s Flying Machines, The Lescar,Wednesday 15th February

There’s only one place to be, if you happen to find yourself in Sheffield on a Wednesday night.  Off to The Lescar I went.  This week they were hosting guitarist Alex Munk’s Flying Machines touching down in Sheffield on an extensive tour promoting their album.

They took off straight away with a throbbing bass line from Conor Chaplin,  Dave Hamblett‘s drums and the guitar locking in a  groove that had a whiff of a skirling dance to it.  Rainbow Line followed with a fractured, funky bass line and a snapping, off-kilter feel.  As Long As It Lasts after a ruminative intro from Munk, had a hymn like melody traced out by ringing chords. Chaplin unwound a fluid melodic solo before handing the baton to Munk.  The leader has a knack of stringing crisply articulated motifs into long arcing phrases even as the rhythm section revs up underneath him and they collectively lean towards rocking out. Matt Robinson on keyboards is the fourth, indispensable element of the sound. Subtle synth washes and tastefully judged chordal stabs or melodic flurries were ever present. On a new, as yet untitled Munk tune, a plaintive, folky melody accelerated over Hamblett’s hip, driving drums and Robinson let fly with a blistering solo, blending darting lines and blocked chords to build to a climax.  There were a couple of excursions into out and and out prog rock meltdowns, but always lurking were artfully layered rhythms and harmonic shifts.  Towards the end Robinson guided a more reflective piece with a gorgeous reflective intro before the gently rocking groove of A Long Walk Home drew another bass solo, packed with ideas and long fluid lines.

Munk’s music steers a path through all sorts of  references with a seasoning of a rocky groove or a kicking riff never far away.  It was rapturously received by a full house at The Lescar.  Their tour continues so catch them if you can.  The remaining 16 (count-em) dates are here

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