Just last month I heard a track entitled 'OINO', and I become fairly smitten with it. I'd never heard of the artist, LA Priest, and when I came to do my research, I soon found that there wasn't much out there in the way of facts, or music for that matter.
While the moniker might be new, the man behind it certainly isn't. The project of a one Sam Dust (even that name fell flat on me), I was to learn that he was the lead singer of Late Of The Pier (the much-loved/short-lived English indie band of the mid 2000's) who had shunned the spotlight following the band's demise, and instead sought solace in Greeland experimenting with sound. Now returning, he brings his findings with him, and I made sure I was in attendance for his first ever LA Priest gig.
Taking to the stage in an odd white suit, Dust set to work looping pitch shifted vocals, dutifully and somewhat randomly twiddling dials to achieve his desired effect. Asking for the lights to be turned low, the man on stage was solely illuminated by his instruments, some of which were his own handcrafted creations, and definitely felt apt as he sang "Even when the morning comes I need the night".
An airy, ELO sounding number marked a slight change of pace, and it fell nicely into the sole single 'OINO', the crowning jewel in the performance. The guitar solo sounded just as good live and it understandably earned the loudest applause, but not without good cause, in my mind undoubtedly the most polished, precise and fun song on the night.
"It'll be just like learning to love all over ago", from what we now know as 'Party Zute/Learning To Love' resonated in my mind long after I left, and the track that most sounded like a hit was released just a few days later.
Finishing with 'Engine', the LA Priest track that first surfaced 6 years ago, it definitely felt like a more focused offering than the other rough cuts, and its Justice sounding outro left things on a high note.
With a wave and bow, Dust departed exactly 40 minutes after he had first arrived, and the room sounded very much in favour. Once the applause ceased and the crowd dissipated, I did hear a few murmurs from those still unconvinced, and I definitely understood their qualms with the evening's entertainment.
Honestly, I never really felt like there were any huge missteps, and I enjoyed the brief encounter while it lasted, but it was more of a case of witnessing a work in progress. Throwing every idea into the mix at once proved to be slightly jarring and not exactly cohesive, and while it was definitely the time to test drive ideas, rehearsals aren't usually paid events.
It definitely never felt like a gig for the ages, but then again, how many first concerts truly do?