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Live Review: The Tea Party

1 November 2017 | 7:45 pm | Mark Beresford

"The evening was a solid reminder of why The Tea Party are choosing to embrace these early records in full."

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Transmission may now sound completely at ease among the back catalogue for The Tea Party, but at the time it was a strong change of tone for the band. Coming off the back of strong organic Moroccan influences from The Edges Of Twilight, the comparison to Transmission was a dark one drenched in industrial sounds and electronic peaks. The tracks stood out during live shows although never in a negative light; their sheer boldness tends to strike harder than most.

To see Transmission played in its entirety for the 20th year celebration of its release is the strongest homecoming we've seen for the songs before. Engrossed in the dystopian lyrics and firing with the energy of the trio, the front-to-back felt perfect. Bridging the balance of dark and light, for example melding the harsh fierceness of Psychopomp with Emerald, was the strength of The Tea Party at its core. With Jeff Martin's unrelenting aggression when leaning back into a piercing Les Paul solo, Stuart Chatwood arching over his keys to fill out every sound and Jeff Burrows mixing both a surging solid beat with subtle nuances to keep a dynamic pulse, the record was brought to life and the crowd lapped up every second of it.

Although it felt like the main course had already been delivered, it turned out to be merely the appetiser. Returning for a second Greatest Hits set, we heard the intense rumble and shotgun-snare hits of Writing's On The Wall ignite. The second half stepped the room up to yet another level. The short final set compressed into pure fan ecstasy with The Bazaar, The Ocean At The End and weaving Heaven Coming Down into U2's With Or Without You alongside their own Save Me intersecting Jeff Buckley's Last Goodbye.

The evening was a solid reminder of why The Tea Party are choosing to embrace these early records in full. 

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