We last reviewed The Bohemian Embassy at Party in the City earlier in 2016. “I’ve seen them do better” was the general notion of our review. So this was a second opinion to see if anything had changed over the last six months.
The £5 entry fee must be an attempt to get together enough money to fix the hole in The Nest‘s ceiling, which was forming a puddle on the floor.
But away from matters of roofing and on to matters of music. As the room filled, many old faces appeared; long-term members of the so-called Boho Tribe. Little has changed with the line up from The Bohemian Embassy of old. Will Jefferies has taken over from David Carlyon on lead guitar and though there have been some other additions along the way, the core of Louis Lanfear on drums, Luke Craddock on bass guitar and Ben Angel on vocals has remained the same.
Ben Angel’s ebullient enthusiasm has been a staple of the band since the early days and this was present at the start of the gig as he jumped about, at one point nearly banged his head on the lighting rig. The sound engineering was better than it was the last time we saw them, the crowd immediately started bouncing about and for a moment I thought this was going to be a triumphant return to Bohos of yesteryear.
It wasn’t. I wanted to write a post which poured adulation on them, but it wouldn’t be truthful. They get 11/10 for perseverance. Ben Angel once told me he would do anything to become famous and in Bath, they have managed to build a following, but I don’t know what it’s based on anymore.
There’s not much to shout about once you’ve become immune to Ben’s enticing, raw energy and listen to what’s being produced, as the songs aren’t hugely engaging.
Louis Lanfear is the embodiment of Animal from The Muppets and drumming-wise he can do no wrong as he throws himself at the kit like it’s his last ever gig. Luke Craddock punches out some nice bass rhythms, but they could do with some embellishment. Will Jefferies is lost in the mix. I have to admit to preferring Will’s efforts in Largo Embargo where he stood out and his guitar work was sublime.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of cohesion in the band. Bohos of old were a tight unit who played well off each other, but now they look more like Ben Angel’s backing band as he presents a tribe of one.
There was a change in tempo during the set, with some electronic synth being added into the mix, sparking my interest, but not much came of it. Other sections where I expected innovative musical experimentation turned into waffling sound with little direction.
Contrary to what people may believe, I take no joy in writing this as I’ve shared some great times with members of the band, but if we take it straight back to a fundamental economic transaction, I felt £5 was a ripoff.
Yes, it was better than the last time I saw them, but what they’re currently producing doesn’t in any way stand up to what they were creating during the time of “Built for the Future“, which sits well on my Spotify playlist. I’m going to listen to that and remember the good old days.
Written by @LordSkitch