The Probes have always been one of my favourite young bands. I had the fateful privilege of sharing a philosophy lesson with the bands frontman – in whom he told me about his band. In an interview a couple of months back, the band told me how they had started, bonded by a love of Joy Division, but now their sound is entirely different. I was quite excited when I heard that they would be playing Sound City. I entered the Cavern Stage just as And The Golden Choir where finishing off. That band blew my mind. It was funny how one crowd dispersed as another entered with fresher faces. The Probes did a quick sound check before kicking into one of their older songs, Marrakesh. Marrakesh is a vibrant moving vehicle. It is far beyond hypnotic; and as I looked around myself, as this mere tent continuously filled with virginal ears, it was evident that everyone was in the same boat – as legs began to wobble and feet to tap. It had been well over a year since I had last seen The Probes and in that time their playing had gotten far tighter and more rehearsed. I was pleased. It was just as exciting as it had been on first listen some two years ago. Without leaving much room for applause the band burst straight into a newer track, ‘Slow Jam’. This one was very enigmatic. It was peaceful yet peculiar. As I listened to its uplifting beauty there remained almost certainly something far darker beneath. In a weird way, despite its obvious psychedelia, I was reminded of Wishbone Ash and of Fleetwood Mac – only with a hidden sense of strange. Imagine if Fleetwood Mac were from Cologne. They sounded like a Prayer Boat and Tame Impala, conjoined, but with a touch of sinister. I was also reminded of very early Thin Lizzy, yet Radiohead. ‘Slow Jam’ was a mass hybrid of influences.
Their third song, ‘Coelacanth’, began with a bass riff. It was the most exciting start to a song I had heard all festival. It was uptempo and mysterious and powerful – my ear drums began to vibrate, perhaps even burst. Again, there is more to these songs than meets the naked ear. There is a whole cacophony of deeper sounds lurking behind the wall of screaming noise. If you were to hear a car crash postponed over three minutes then this would be it. After a quick cheer, they dove into another one of their older songs, ‘Glass Prison’, which was equally as monstrous and menacing. In a previous review I spoke of the repetitive nature of this song in particular and how the dark realism of the lyrics is catastrophic in its power. It is incredibly filmic. As the final verse came into play pretension walked into the tent. The final two tracks of the set were quite similar in their nature. I have always considered The Probes to have been a very Germanic band, however this newer, more psychedelic side to them seems to have greater Asian influences. They were both very lively and energetic. In the final song of the set in particular one guy, a Lone Ranger, wearing a headband lost himself in the music. I applauded him. And then the last chord was strung and I was stunned to hear the greatest applause of this festival yet. For the entirety of the set I had believed the audience to have not known what had hit them. I even wrote a note saying: ‘they don’t know how to react, perhaps because this is not in the charts’, but they did know. They worshiped The Probes like they were Gods.
Review by Joe Loftus
Photos to follow.