[News] Diagonal to release “Roadburn Live 2008” on April 22, 2022 via Cobblers Records

The sheer power of Diagonal’s live performances in their first incarnation has become the stuff of legends. Their celebrated self-titled 2008 debut captured much of this spirit—a super-human rhythm section on which danced a heady brew of organ, sax, synth and twin guitars—but there was nothing quite like being at one of their shows.

Their performance at the Roadburn Festival in April 2008 was Diagonal at their very finest. Saxophonist Nick Whittaker recalls: “I remember that was one of the shows where everything just clicked. We were playing live a lot at that time and you can really hear how tight we were in both the written and improvised sections. We’d recorded the debut a few months earlier and we were so confident with the songs and how to get the most out of them on stage.”

Finally gaining a release, fourteen years later, the recording is evidence of a young band, hungry and willing to take risks. Their classic set-list opener “Semi-Permeable Menbrain” is much wilder than the studio version, the band stretching out and loosening up with a fiery rendition that melds into the initial dreamscape of “Child of the Thundercloud,” whose intricacies can’t obscure its epic power. The non-album “Heavy Language” and “Canon Misfire” represent the core of the set: explosive, Nucleus-like Jazz-Rock workouts that positively smoulder in their intensity. The closer “Pact” lost none of its majesty on stage, with a euphoric chorale coda that would have made Pompeii-era Pink Floyd proud.

Diagonal continue to make vibrant and intriguing records (lately, Arc and 4) which demonstrate an undimmed ability to fuse structure and improvisation, studiousness and the wild. This release captures a particular moment in their trajectory when, as a gigging band, they were honing their live experience. Drummer Luke Foster: “with each show we played we got more familiar with the songs and that allows you to have more fun with them, maybe stretch out a section or just emphasise something slightly different with the rhythm. We were a great unit at that time.

Part of the magic of Diagonal in this period is how they integrated seven different musicians and their voices into such a coherent sound. Indeed that is a major part of the appeal. Call it Progressive Rock but what we have here is an audacious combination of deep, pounding Funk from the rhythm section; twin guitars that are crisp and stately when not spinning away into wild solos; a positively vicious sounding Farfisa organ; and sax and synth that provide a spacey and textured frosting. That this is topped off by vocals from Alex Crispin that are as soulful and passionate as any sixties R&B group demonstrates further the singular and unique voice of Diagonal in 2008.

Pre-order the album on Bandcamp: https://diagonal.bandcamp.com/album/roadburn-live-2008

Tracklist:

1. Semi Permeable Menbrain/Child of the Thundercloud (Live)
2. Heavy Language (Live)
3. Cannon Misfire (Live)
4. Pact (Live)

Lineup:

Luke Foster / Drums
Ross Hossack / Synthesiser
Nicholas Whittaker / Alto Saxophone, Vocals
David Wileman / Guitar
Daniel Pomlett / Bass
Nicholas Richards / Guitar
Alex Crispin / Organ, Vocals

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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