The Grey And Maebe Deliver Powerful Performances At 229 Venue 2

Cambridge’s The Grey and Maebe from Bristol joined Mountainscape at 229’s intimate Venue 2 on Great Portland Street. Opening, Maebe played as if the room were full. The venue filled as the night went on with a decent-sized and enthusiastic crowd.

The Grey – Maebe

229 The Venue (Venue 2) – 7 June 2024

Words: Marisa Adams

Photography: Ryan Shotison

The Grey

Opening with slow, dreamlike lyrical heaviness, which built and gathered crushing momentum without gathering speed, we were treated to new material to be released in September.

The Grey - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
The Grey – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Soon after the start, I turned to a friend who wordlessly gave me a smile and nod that summed up their music perfectly: utterly satisfying.

This was a dark, heavy, spacey voyage further into The Grey’s rich melodic landscape for 45 minutes or so of steeping in a polychromatic therapeutic sound bath of riffs.

The Grey - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
The Grey – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Under a smoky firmament of red light and atmospheric sonic layering, each riff and melody was brought to life with emphatically sincere, unrestrained physicality. A solid, flesh and blood creation which roamed massively around the audience with a weighty, meaty existence and a mature grace of its own.

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The Grey - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
The Grey – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Multiplying as the set progressed, their huge furred hides brushed through, surrounded, lifted and suspended the audience until we were totally immersed in their massy collective bulk.

Darker, bleaker, and more melancholy than some of their previous material, its colour, the honesty and abandon of the performance, and the guitarist Charlie Gration’s bare feet made for an invitation into the music which had a quality of friendship about it. 

The Grey - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
The Grey – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

The final track was CHVRCH, and came with an invitation to allow ourselves to freely feel our struggles and those of others we may know. For the next 10 minutes, they explored raw emotion through a heavy ethereality, traversing harrowing territory without flinching, bassist Andy Price coming down into the audience and howling the single’s spare poetry with a mix of utterly forlorn despair, surrender, and defiance.

The Grey - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
The Grey – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

This visceral set concluded with drummer Steve Moore’s broken stick at the front of the stage and much well-deserved applause.

Maebe

The night was opened by Maebe, a fourpiece from Bristol. All parts were written by Michael Astley-Brown, on lead guitar for this set. After they played, he told me they are currently working on new material together. 

Maebe - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

They constructed upbeat, warm, energetic, instrumental alt/post-rock with progressive and math rock woven in here and there and with some heavier and more melancholy counterweights.

Maebe - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Complex arrangements and positive, expansive melodies were broadened by harmonies, with lyrical and languid, dreamy passages, off-key grooves and more contemplative moments morphing into concentrated cascades of notes played with spirited athleticism.

Maebe - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

It had a good-humoured, oddly homely feel to it as though being shown around a house of many characterful rooms by its generous, animated resident and his housemates, and regaled with multihued stories of the lives lived there, with sudden glimpses of hidden places seen through mirrors or corners by a trick of angle.

Maebe - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Unexpected discordant tangents set things off-kilter as if when walking from one room to another, you suddenly found yourself on a train careening round a mountain track on one rail and were then back in the house: tipped over an edge and set upright again with impish solemnity, absent of peril. 

Maebe - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

They played an intricate, vigorous finale and were vocal in warmly appreciating every person who had come to watch them, as well as the other bands on the bill.

Maebe - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Maebe – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
The Grey - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
The Grey – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

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