The night was filled with bands who had amazingly angular haircuts, but there was more in store than just gazing at musicians with severe and flammable hair. Call it what you will, from prog to post to math rock, there’s a slew of bands toting around England playing the “sound of the future”, and tonight, the Electric Ballroom housed three acts in the forefront of this movement. Tired Irie opened up and tore me in a dance direction, thanks to the inclusion of the Rapture-esque cow bell, but at the same time, they stayed faithful to their post-rock genre.

The beloved Oxford quintet Youthmovies played their usual rollicking set of art rock infused with everything from Metallica-tinged metal to mellifluously jazzy intervals, all housed in a pretty post-rock package. They gave us a taste of what was to come with masterpieces like “Ores”, “If You’d Seen a Battlefield” and “Last Night of the Proms” from their debut release, due later this year or early 2008. The band has built up a devout following, packing venues and feeding off of the frenzy. Not many bands can jam almost three songs into one and maneuver hand clap sessions as well, but Youthmovies somehow manages this and more.

Momentum was building for Sheffield-based, instrumental 65daysofstatic. Though watching them from afar was powerful enough, standing on stage and witnessing the mayhem of math rock at its best was the most invigorating part of the night. Drowning in the fog and light show that accented their set, it was like watching a dizzying tug of war that took the music (and the audience) outside genre boundaries, yet stayed true to patterns of melody and the basics of math rock.

Youthmovies’ drummer Graeme Murray guested on the sticks and broke out into a dance frenzy midway, more proof of the camaraderie of this tightly-knit group of bands. Highlights were tracks from their third release, Don’t Go Down To Sorrow. This intimate show provided a perfect precursor before the band heads off on tour with The Cure this spring.–Andrea D’Alessandro/photos by Andrea D’Alessandro