A quick search around these parts shows that Ireland’s United Bible Studies are Foxy regulars. Faves, too, and rightly so. “Live at the Warehouse” is their umpteenth cdr release, and it sees the band taking their free improvisation to the masses. Well, sort of, as the crowds present at the Warehouse on three occasions in 2004 and 2005, seem to be your regular two dozens. But the applause is heartfelt, and well-deserved as Gavin Prior and his collective (“people come and go” is what UBS’s myspace officially states in the band members section) go through six tracks and prove that improvisation needn’t lack atmosphere, tension and rhythm. In a little under an hour UBS make it clear that there’s no excuse for boredom.
“We’re United Bicycle Studies”, the band proclaim as they enter the stage to perform the two tracks off of their split with Tremors. As has been noted by Brad in his review, both tracks are great, shredding nervous saxophone and bowed guitars in a terrific storm of tribal percussion before the first tracks climaxes after more than eleven minutes. “Yeah”, shouts somebody, and a few people applaud. The responses are trivial but it’s great to have them as part of these recordings, as they lend a warm and authentic atmosphere that sets these documents apart from a lot of sterile ‘live’ recordings. Two minutes and ten seconds into the second piece, somebody coughs, but only once. It is with great respect for United Bible Studies that I proclaim this my favourite moment of the whole cdr.
The remaining tracks cover a similar terrain. It’s amazing to hear how, in the middle of chirping birds, repetitive percussive patterns and wailing strings, the musicians never lose focus. It has been claimed that United Bible Studies make you “truly hear/ feel this sort of communal, almost primal sense of belonging in their music” (cf Francois Hubert’s review of UBS’s “The Northern Lights and the Northern Dark”). “Live at the Warehouse” is a case in point. 7/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (19 November, 2008)