If there is a perfect venue for the London group Rothko and New Yorkers Edison Woods to play a gig then it must be the Spitz in East London. The venue has an artful and smart character which is also one of the main features of both bands.

First you have to walk up stairs to enter the music hall which has an almost romantic feel to it tonight. There are a few tables surrounding a wooden stage. The stage stands out into the auditorium so you can see the musicians who play on it from any angle. Tables are fully occupied by fans and each of them has its own candle in the centre gently lighting up the background.

Rothko are the main support to Edison Woods and are just coming up on the stage. Rothko's line-up has gone through many changes but tonight they perform as trio with bassist Mark Beazley, the front man of the band, being joined by violinist Francis Morgan on violin and fellow bassist Michael Donnelly.

“The first number is called ‘Truth Burns’” announces Mark to the quiet audience who are now paying full attention to the stage. Rothko are known for their great skill at vividly creating pictures with music. ‘This Lake Of Hope’ (from their album ‘A Continual Search For Origins) is a great example. At the beginning of the track you even get to hear birds singing which is eventually joined by the bass which stretches out the song further.

‘Declaration Of Loss’ is from Rothko's latest album ‘A Wish For A World Without Hurt’ which was released last year. The inspiration for the album, the tragic terrorist event of 11/09, comes across in the music as very vivid and touching. Mark’s and Michael’s bass guitars create a dark and fatal sound that is further developed by Francis' violin.

Rothko close their set after 30 minutes with an as yet untitled new song which leaves me convinced the band still have a lot to show us.

The 7 piece Edison Woods come up on the stage just before 10. They are all smartly dressed and from the outset prove to be very soothing on the ears.

The band’s singer, Julia Rodahl, is wearing a white skirt with a black top and stands right in the middle of the stage. Her soft voice seems to almost swim through the music

I have never heard Edison Woods before but it is very easy to befriend their music on the first listen. The variety of instruments that they play makes their music more colourful and unpredictable. It wouldn’t be right to put Edison Woods into any musical genre. They are instead a mix of lo-fi, orchestral, and even classical music.

The band have worked in the theatre back home and this reflects in tonight’s performance. At the start of one of their songs Julia starts monologuing which brings the whole audience to full concentration. In a few moments she is joined by another member of the band and another until they are all speaking. The last thing it sounds, however, is confused especially after they bring in their instruments as well.

During another song, towards the end, Julia starts sewing one of her black gloves and then moves over to another band member who joins her.

The fans don’t take their eyes off the stage for the whole set and when the band finally finish they are awarded by very encouraging applause.

While it’s the first time Edison Woods visited UK tonight they definitely stand their ground and I would hope we will get to see them back here soon.
















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Commenting On: Spitz, London, 24/3/2004 - Edison Woods and Rothko








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