When we look back on how Coronavirus changed music and the arts in 2020, I reckon one of the main things we’ll all remember is the advent of the Lockdown Home Session. We couldn’t be together, so musicians did their stuff at home. They stuck it on the internet and we could all get into it while stuck in our own homes. There’s been good ones and there’s been bad ones, hasn’t there? And we’ve all become literate in what makes a decent “Lockdown Session”, and what makes a crud one. Sometimes you can tell just by looking, before the musicians have even played a note. Well, I had that experience reviewing rock band Raptor’s session for the Isolation Station podcast. Raptor had videoed a home session and stuck it on Facebook, in tandem with an interview for Isolation Station. This review is about the songs shown in the video that you can watch here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=958586674569050.
The footage starts, with the band crammed into a room that looks about 8 foot square, and the drummer’s corner was decorated by two beautiful pieces of cloth. One showed a spacescape where the sun had a benign face and a quizzical smile, the other a fractal spiral, made up of lotus petals, tentacles and eyeballs. Just seeing this, I already knew: this wasn’t going to be a run of the mill “Lockdown Session”. Raptor have been around for a few years, so if you’re familiar with them please bear with me because it was the first time I’ve heard them. Well, their music is hard rock that swings like a barn door in a high wind. This is hard rock that makes you shake a leg: the space of Led Zepplin at their funkiest, crossed with the melody of Oasis at their hardest and played with the drive of AC/DC. Raptor played three songs, each had its own character but were all full of life and vibrancy. They started with “Stone Rider”, which had a melody that reminded me of Nirvana’s “Aneurysm” but the music was hard and driving; the drive and energy of the music prompting the bass player throw back his head in excitement. The second song “Been Too Long”, sounded like Jimi Hendrix playing a White Stripes riff, with a scorching solo to match, and a melody by psychedelic indie band The Music. The singer’s voice has a keening swagger that places him somewhere between Ozzy Osbourne and Liam Gallagher. There’s a surprise middle section, when an endlessly rising chord sequence prompts the drums to go double time with another razor edge guitar solo, before it all wittily tumbles back down to the original riff. The last number is a single called “Dynamite is Freedom”, that has a woozy, swinging swagger; like an Alice Cooper number that’s had one too many, and this brought their show to a close. By all appearances, it seems that the audio track to the session is simply the live take that you see before you on the video. The sound has been mixed very well given the musicians are all in a tiny room blasting out hard psychedelic rock.
There’s still plenty of nuance and subtly that displays music that is vibrant and full of life and wit. A truth test for good music is, how are the musicians reacting when they make it? As you watch Raptor drive out their hard, melodic guitar riffs – the shared eye-contact and delight on the musician’s faces that they are making this glorious racket is so tangible. They laugh together with sheer joy at what they’re creating, and it’s beautiful to see their enjoyment. Like Coronavirus, it’s very infectious.
By: Eastside Jimmy