Buffalo Bar III Our third gig at The Buffalo Bar was always going to be interesting. The two preceding gigs went well to be sure to be sure but the Buffalo Finale was, from the early stages, supposed to be something a bit special. Ex Libras, The Rifle Volunteer, Esben and the Witch, two seriously talented artists and an amazing turnout of incredibly warm, appreciative people made damn sure that it was special indeed. Having handed out flyers for a few hours in the most entertaining way possible (including Wil back-peddling with arms outstretched to ensure maximum obstruction value) The 405 boys headed downstairs to join the already substantial crowd to check out the openers Ex Libras. A small buzz had already grown up around the three piece melodic post-rock band comprised of Keiran, Ross and Amit (who kindly provides us with their Artist Picks here) due to us having heard their debut album (out in November!). What transpired was a set of mesmeric, heart-wrenching intensity that left a few members of the audience semi-speechless. From the opening vocal lines drifting effortlessly through octaves, the precise but expressive beats and minimalist keyboards it was obvious that Ex Libras knew their stuff. An atmospheric and melodic opening song was followed swiftly by a roughly 5 minute instrumental break so sparse as to almost fade away completely; crucially the intensity and subtlety of the ambient effects kept the audience on tenterhooks. The inevitable climax was devastatingly effective, as where the following soundscapes; ranging through crunch soaked tech breakdowns through thrashy, mad delay swirls to staccato. Such an act is desperately hard to follow of course, but The Rifle Volunteer stepped boldly to the plate. Svelt, assured, and understated, the contrast was to their credit. Softly sung ballads evoking loss and melancholy have never looked so good and rarely sounded quite so soulful. For a band who self confessed to being 'bloody miserable' there were moments of real uplifting harmony. Check out these boys for your daily dose of down-tempo, delicate, liltingly vocalized bluesy-pop. Esben and the Witch hail from the sunny shores of Brighton. First impressions undoubtedly rested on guitarist/vocalist/drummer Danny’s insanely cool floral jacket, the fairy lights, globe and Owl statue adorning the stage. Enticing, certainly, and when set against the aural splendour of a band so obviously intelligent and passionate really quite intense. Esben and the Witch flirt with the ambient, harness the post-rock and dally with rock outs. The three of them all clustered around a floor tom, beating out a tribal rhythm, with clicks and taps (courtesy of hidden drum machine) was a sight to behold; vocalist Rachel’s haunting wails and the gothic-tinged guitar lines proving an hypnotic influence. .Esben and the Witch are one of those bands that create a scene, a spectacle, and an experience as opposed just to a gig. It’s probably not going to make you dance, It may well require a little conscious engagement on your part, but there is certainly the depth to reward what little patience is needed to enter Esben’s curious world. Closing track Eumenides was a perfectly crafted delicate epic that sent shivers down spines. It seems like a lot of people are digging such literary concoctions of progressive sounds as Esben determinedly purvey right now, and thought I wish them all the best it's somewhat moot; the best is certainly coming to them, and fast And so, after a slightly awkward art raffle, the evening drew to a close. It was the last Tuesday night we'll put on at The Buff Bar - we've got bigger plans (or at least plans to host it on a more accessible night) and it went down a storm, I hope. Hey, why not let us know what you thought of it by posting in THIS FOURUM THREAD. So keep posted for details about our next 405 Presents: whatever it may be. Without divulging much I'll say we might even have something more alternative lined up. We'll see eh? This is Danny, signing off. Once again a massive thank you to Ex Libras, Esben and Rifle Volunteer for playing, being lovely folks. Thanks to Laura for the on-stage banana. Thanks Simon and Selven for yet again being amazing