Haunt the Woods at Carnglaze Caverns: The Soundcheck Review

It’s not every night you end up driving for several miles down a dark and foreboding lane to reach a cave in the middle of the woods.  But last night, a chilly evening in early spring, we made the trip to Carnglaze Caverns near Liskeard to join Haunt The Woods at their Circle EP launch show.

Having seen the band a couple of times before (including a rather picturesque and sun filled early morning slot at Glastonbury last year with an ice cream in one hand and a cider in the other) we had a fairly good idea of what we could expect.  Memories of our previous encounters of the bands smooth four part harmonies, striking guitar riffs and the emotional outpouring from the close knit group were all playing through our minds as we made our way into the simply otherworldly cave at Carnglaze Caverns.

To attempt to describe the venue would be doing it an injustice, it is simply beyond words.  

Dark and damp yet hugely enticing. Cold and claustrophobic yet oddly charming.  Carnglaze Caverns is simply not your ordinary venue for a gig. 

The 500 strong crowd were assembled and ready to go, with a real sense of community and friendship visible at every turn.  To start our night we were treated to the lovely harmonies and charm of The Trees, a four part and all female singer-songwriter group from the South West.  They were closely followed by the breathtaking vocals of Jamie Yost and his band.  Similarities to Ben Howard and Daughter are well deserved and this group captivated the audience with Jamie’s soaring vocals and the bands understated yet intricate instrumentation.

But to be honest, the majority of the audience were here for one band.  Haunt the Woods.  They took to the stage at nearly ten o’clock with a blaze of lights and sweeping, swooning guitars.  From then on, the audience was transfixed.  Fuelled by a hot drink and with our copies of their new EP beside us, the evening took us to a place where music and caves suddenly seemed the most natural fit.  Suddenly the tons of rock above our heads were no longer intimidating, as the warmth and power from Haunt the Woods filled the cavernous space around us.

It’s hard to explain just how good this band are live.  With moments of Pink Floyd, Muse and Radiohead punctuating the set, it’s clear that Haunt the Woods have carved out their own space with their folk-tinged prog rock vibes.  Perhaps most strikingly of all is the phenomenal vocal range of lead singer, Jonathon Stafford.  From a quiet, nearly inaudible whisper to his powerful and impassioned moments, he bewitches everybody present with his talent.

It’s a real treat to see a band perform such an accomplished set so early on in their career.  When the time eventually came to leave it became clear that this is really just the beginning for these four lads from Cornwall.  They may have just been launching their second EP last night, but they have a very long and bright future ahead of them.

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