Long Distance Calling

Long Distance Calling / Pil & Bue

Boston Music Room, London
Wednesday 15th February 2023

It’s been a ridiculous seven years since Long Distance Calling last played in the UK, and it was at this venue, the Boston Music Room in London. There are probably a number of reasons, and we’ve covered this ground before, but fairly obviously a certain pandemic played a part, and any music fan knows too well by now that we haven’t exactly made it any easier for small bands to tour, be it non-UK bands playing here, or UK bands playing overseas. When it happens, my goodness we need to support these bands, and it was heartening to see a reasonably strong and enthusiastic turn out on Wednesday to witness the return of the German titans to British soil.

Support came from Norwegian duo Pil & Bue, who make a decent racket considering it’s just drums and guitar/vocals. What they lack in band members they make up for in commitment and enthusiasm as they bludgeon their way through a short set of howling anguish and relentless riffing. Actually, there is a lighter side at times, and it’s really quite accessible, but full-blooded and heavy when it needs to be. The crowd likes them and I’m quietly impressed by their passionate approach.

Pil & Bue

Pil & Bue – Petter Carlsen, Gøran Johansen
Facebook | Bandcamp

Long Distance CallingIt emerges that Long Distance Calling almost didn’t get here, as they were held up for unspecified reasons at the border, and didn’t get to the venue until 7pm, so they would be excused for being shattered as they take the stage, but if they are, they hide it well. Death Box serves as an atmospheric intro, then Giants Leaving sees the band launch their riff machine, Janosch Rathmer propelling them forward at pace, while the guitars of Florian Füntmann and David Jordan play compelling and interweaving parts, occasionally locking together as they spiral skywards. The band are underpinned by Jan Hoffmann’s solid insistent bass as it growls and throbs, and the combined effect is heavy as hell, but with spaces left for atmospheric moody moments of respite. Blades completes the opening salvo of songs from the latest album Eraser, and we then go back to 2020’s How Do We Want to Live? for Hazard. By now, the band have relaxed into the set, and encouraged by the warm reception, go from strength to strength. Having seen them several times now, they are such a phenomenal live act, they seem to improve with every performance. They can be masters of texture and restraint, but when they lock in to one of their heavy grooves, they are unstoppable, and the crowd is swept up on a euphoric wave of energy and excitement.

Long Distance Calling

Black Paper Planes from 2009’s Avoid the Light album, a jewel in their back catalogue, gets a rousing cheer, and some vigorous head shaking to boot. The insistent riff sets the scene, then Florian plays some haunting bottleneck guitar lines as the song slowly builds to a gorgeous post-rock zenith. Soon, Aurora takes us back even further to the Satellite Bay album for the die-hard fans of the early songs. The band may have been travelling all day to get here, but all travel hassles are by now forgotten as they storm their way to the set’s climax, with an epic take on Skydivers from 2018’s Boundless, where Long Distance Calling’s prog credentials are clear, and all too soon we reach the final song, the title track of the latest record Eraser. It brings the set to an atmospheric and spellbinding end, and the band are rightly cheered to the rafters. There was no way the crowd were going to settle at that, and the band return triumphant with another old favourite, Metulsky Curse Revisited.

Long Distance Calling

After that performance, it’s smiles all round, band, crew and audience alike, just as it should be. I can’t recommend Long Distance Calling highly enough as a live band, and I sincerely hope that they are able to return sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, the planned Manchester show suffered what is becoming a too regular fate, and was pulled because of poor advance ticket sales, and I’m just thankful that London was able to go ahead. This band deserves an audience, and it would be tragic if future planned dates aren’t supported. Live music is so important and gigs like this prove the point more eloquently than anything I can say. If and when they return, give them a chance – you’ll not regret it.

Death Box
Giants Leaving
Invisible Giants
Black Paper Planes
Out There
~ Encore:
Metulsky Curse Revisited

Janosch Rathmer – Drums
David Jordan – Guitar
Florian Füntmann – Guitar
Jan Hoffmann – Bass

Long Distance Calling – Website | Facebook | YouTube