Skyharbor : A Real Labour of Love

Skyharbor : A Real Labour of Love

The quality of the musicianship in this band is pretty astounding. Their last album, “Guiding Lights”, was utterly flawless and totally beautiful. This show wasn’t quite that, but in retrospect that still makes it pretty special.

Skyharbor is a labour of love. They’re a band composed of members from three separate continents, they compose via the internet, their rehearsal time is presumably incredibly limited and frequently they don’t actually get to tour with all the members involved (this tour sees them sans their usual drummer). When you take all that into account, it’s astonishing that this band have ever taken to the stage.

It speaks volumes about the dedication to the music from the musicians involved, and the fans who want to hear these songs.

Skyharbor // photograph by Calum McMillan
Skyharbor // photograph by Calum McMillan

For all this amazing passion, this show isn’t quite as magic as the record from which the majority of the material is taken. Something feels missing, there’s a disconnect between the band’s more introspective moments and the heavier moments that robs both of their impact.

Possibly this feeling is partially due to unfair expectation. The band’s recorded material is stunning and the internet hype machine has been rolling strong in hyperbolic support of this band since the release of lead single “Evolution”. It would be difficult for any artist to live up to those expectations, especially when faced with Skyharbor’s geographical and logistical challenges.

Skyharbor // photograph by Calum McMillan
Skyharbor // photograph by Calum McMillan

That being said, it would be impossible to deny just how much so many of tonight’s audience get out of this show. Each track encourages impassioned sing alongs and the band’s playing is incredibly impressive. Guitar necks fly across the stage, shapes and thrown and beaming smiles are common place. Vocalist Daniel Tompkins displays a calm and gentle persona between songs which is pretty endearing and avoids every rock star cliché during his sublime and acrobatic vocal performances ( we even got a little scream here and there in “Celestial” which appealed to my less sophisticated nature)  which helps to set the band apart from the progressive metal scene that they’ve all but left behind.

The proof of this is “Patience”. A truly beautiful song, that legitimately brought a tear to my eye during the show, which transcends the obvious trappings of both progressive music and metal music. It’s a track that feels like it would work as well stripped of all its instrumentation, or drowning beneath additional contributions,  and that is no small feat. For a band so disconnected from the typical band scenario, it’s amazing that their music is so lush and well developed.

It wasn’t the perfect show, but it was a labour of love that puts the efforts of a lot of other bands to shame. And the tunes are naw half bad either.

\\click image for full screen slide-show//

 

 

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