Mildred Maude @ Moor Beer Vaults, London, 27.10.23

A double hit of shoegazing excellence, the Falmouth noise rock maximalists are joined by Three Quarter Skies as support

Oct 27th, 2023 at Moor Beer Vaults, London / By Richard Lewis
Mildred Maude Beer Mile, Bermondsey, London. The arches beneath the mainline heading into London Bridge are buzzing despite the constant drizzle as the Moor Beer Vaults – c’mon the initials are MBV, they’re on to a winner when it comes to shoegaze gigs – play host for tonight’s show.

Positioned on the low stage in front at the far end of the beer hall, Three Quarter Skies kick off their set with the prosaically titled Opener, an amorphous cloud of guitar textures which morphs into new cut Holy Water. An outfit with less than ten gigs under their belt, to call the band newcomers is a bit of a misnomer as the outfit are piloted by Simon Scott, a man whose long standing services to shoegaze have seen him earn his stripes as drummer for almost everything released by genre wellspring Slowdive. The gig goer in the Can Future Days T-shirt nodding appreciatively throughout highlights the 'Skies Kosmische influence, underpinning their swirling guitar patinas with motorik rhythms.

Staged to flag up the release of debut EP Universal Flames, saying the disc and the set is promising is doing it something of a disservice. With moonlighting members of rising London shoegazers Cheerless forming part of the group's live set up, the oceanic guitar sound and endless wash of cymbals on Pieces of Rosalin are beautifully rendered. Slightly frustrating, debut single, the diaphanous On Fire isn’t aired, presumably something that is rectified on future outings. Pointing the way ahead for the troupe another new track, Rollercoaster played last is the highlight, a driving, up-tempo blast that needs to be issued on wax asap. Three Quarter Skies: Four Quarters – oh, alright then – Promising.

With two new releases in the racks, headliners Mildred Maude piece have plenty of wares to plug. The trio’s monolithic three track LP 2017 debut CPA I-III has received by redux with a fresh remastering job by the aforementioned Scott.

The Falmouth trio have also unveiled new EP Microclimates featuring Lorena Quintela, vocalist from the much admired Lorelle Meets the Obsolete. Paying homage to cult US indie scene maker Calvin Johnson in his brown Beat Happening T-shirt, Matt Ashdown fires up his axe and leads the charge for the ‘Maude.

Having done this enough times thankfully not to accidently let go of his guitar and embed it in the stage or possibly the ceiling, Johnson is in almost constant motion on stage like a diviner dousing for water, trying to identify the optimum location for guitar tones, leaning his axe against the wall of the venue at one point. Bassist Lee Wade provides the musical and visual counterpoint, keeping the tracks fixed in place with his solid foundation lines. Using the bass to supply a drone, a move more bands might do well to explore, the low end frequencies mesh with drummer Louie Newlands’ skittering beats.

Serving up a succession of oscillating sonic leviathans guided by band telepathy and the occasional nod to one another, the members musical simpatico over the course of the set is abundantly clear. With the aforementioned Microclimates standing as their best work to date, the trio’s shoegaze / noise rock explorations continue apace.