I feel as though The Victoria is swaying like a ship; Sweet Williams slur and groan as gravity shifts beneath them, their music slipping nauseously off axis. But while there’s a wooziness trickling out of the gaps – open strings rubbing up against the chords, consonances lost to a drunken stream of vocal vowels – there’s an assertion powering the joints too, rooted largely in the beats that clack in impeccable time and haul all of the elements into miraculous parallel. It’s a fine set, particularly for those points of contrast where Sweet Williams rub their eyes free of muck and reality snaps back into its socket – the band go from a rickety to-and-fro to a patient and melancholic unfurl, with sombre thoughts drooled out carefully and inevitably into pools of minor key.
It’s hot and hazy by this point, but the accumulating cloud of humidity seems to dissipate under the initial thump of Enablers’ “New Moon”. “The Reader” and “Tundra” follow promptly after, and it’s a muscular opening – an emphatic, unfaltering declaration of presence chopped into two-minute bursts, all protruding veins and guitars slamming into eachother. As always, Pete Simonelli acts as physical embodiment of the band’s energy and constantly rekindling momentum, sliding across the stage as if carrying one moment deftly into the next, riding each ribbon of melody as it spirals and tumbles down, and staggering backward in the wake of the band’s more explosive moments of impact.
There are brand new songs tonight too, exhibiting a heavier, more deliberate execution than on anything they’ve released previous. I sense a clear-headed simplicity that filters out the erratic outbursts and emotional excess that characterise real-time impulse, with each gesture being the carefully carved product of a deep and poignant forethought. Some of the new material is powered by straight and unambiguous percussive drives – withholding from decorative ghost notes to place more punctuative emphasis over the main hits – while other moments are liberated from drum rhythms altogether, tethering themselves to a circular melodic wandering that continually probes deeper into itself.
And despite the fact that Enablers are melting into the stage by the time the encore comes round, they still have enough fumes in the tank to grant “Pauly’s Days In Cinema” – tonight’s self-destructive encore – the urgency and seething attack it requires. The final minute is an absolute breakdown – the final few joules are forced out in hoarse screams and guitar noise that gushes forth like blood from a wound, draining Enablers to a point of death and silence.