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Nadja + Capillary Action

Last night at Bardens Boudoir, Capillary Action and Nadja played like each other's inverse reflection. Capillary Action offered the spectacle of virtuosity, with technical mastery of their instruments and a sophisticated understanding of melody and harmony. But their immaculate rehearsal-room constructions – imagine Prokofiev re-arranging Red Krayola – left nothing to chance, and as a result felt somewhat empty emotionally. Everything was so controlled it failed to engage.

Nadja on the other hand offered no such spectacle. Just two folk onstage playing their bass and guitar very very slowly, occasionally tweaking the knobs on their FX units and murmuring lackadaisically into their mics. But their (vaguely adolescent) brand of shoegazing miserabilism possessed the emotional richness that eluded Capillary Action. Best enjoyed with eyes closed, their vast, fuzzy drones and delicate fragments of melody enraptured the crowd, who stood there pale-faced and solemnly nodding, dreaming of forests. A victory of heart over head.

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