worriedaboutsatan @ Gullivers, Manchester, 19 March
As worriedaboutsatan, Gavin Miller and Tom Ragsdale found their feet as one of the most productive and enduring partnerships in Manchester’s musical community. After six years away from performing under the name, they now return to it. Their hiatus has been a busy one, however, including performing together as Ghosting Season, Ragsdale’s own output as Winter Son, Miller’s solo performances and the running of label This Is It Forever Records – as well as making a sizeable amount of music for film and television.
Tonight’s set sees the duo debut material from their new album, Even Temper – which could have been composed specifically for Géla Babluani’s film 13 Tzameti, projected behind the band throughout. The excruciating tension of the film's series of Russian roulette contests is matched perfectly by the pair's uneasy, dreamlike passages, which rise up to satisfying drops; each thump and crack as crisp and menacing as the accompanying projection.
It’s clear that, in pursuing their extracurricular activities, Miller and Ragsdale have been able to take their time honing their craft and return to worriedaboutsatan with a renewed zeal. Though they sit firmly within the minimal techno aesthetic, there’s a strong sense of individual identity, with their synth lines and ghostly vocal loops – plus the coherent inclusion of post-rock inspired guitar parts – sounding better than ever.
Following all this existential horror, some light drum breaks and a shift to major tonality create a sense of optimism, soundtracking an ambiguous getaway. Though the high-stakes drama of the film’s narrative occasionally threatens to detract from the music, tonight worriedaboutsatan demonstrate that they stand among the best in their field. [Edward Bottomley]