Squid live in London: looking to the weird and wonderful future

June 5, Silver Building: In stunning and dystopian surroundings, the band road-test new music that pushes their unique sound forwards even further

Less than a month ago, Squid released their five-star debut album ‘Bright Green Field’ to huge acclaim and a top-five position in the UK charts. It was a record, as NME wrote, that fulfilled “every ounce of the band’s potential.”

As we’ve learned about the Bristol quintet though, they’re never content to sit still or rest on their laurels. While a full UK tour in support of the album is set to take place later this year, they also hopped in the van just weeks after the release of the debut album to embark on a socially distanced tour they’ve dubbed ‘Fieldworks’. The live outings serve as a chance to road-test in-progress new material in weird and wonderful locations.

After playing a cinema in Bristol, Manchester Stoller Hall concert venue, a tavern in Chippenham and beyond, the tour comes to the capital tonight. Taking place at the Silver Building – a new complex of art studios and venue spaces in East London’s industrial docklands – the show sees Squid play in a courtyard against a stunning backdrop of Canary Wharf skyscrapers and the cross-river cable car, with the crowd sat in front of them on pub benches. “This is pretty fucking dystopian,” singer-drummer Ollie Judge chuckles between songs.

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Their hour-long set features a handful of tracks from ‘Bright Green Field’. The likes of ‘2010’, ‘Paddling’ and ‘Pamphlets’ give the performance some meat and ensure it doesn’t purely end up as a jam session – but elsewhere Squid hint at a future that sees their horizons blown open even wider than before, with no genre or style out of bounds.

Mainly, though, today’s show is focused on newer material – for now, all of the songs don’t have official titles – and the music displayed matches the surreal setting perfectly. Across the new songs – some of which have lyrics and feel more fully formed, while others are in a more embryonic, improvisational stage – the band flirt with bubbling electronic music. One new song sees them swerve closer to their label-mates at Warp, and elsewhere they explore funky noise that recalls the otherworldliness of The Avalanches.

Meanwhile, another pair of new tracks are defined by meatier rock riffs from guitarist Louis Borlase, but no mood sticks around for long. How much these tracks will change before they get released in the future is yet to be seen, but even in their early stages, they’re a superbly exciting window into where this singular band may go next.

The greatest part of ‘Bright Green Field’ was the weird and wonderful journey Squid managed to take you on across its running length. Tonight, they beckon us into the inner circle as their bright, bright future begins to unfold.

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