On the debut performance of Gil De Ray’s IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRONE
The Waiting Room, London August 23rd 2018
New light will always find favour and tonight it blazed brightly
In a Stoke Newington room. With the stage lights set green for go,
In The Shadow of The Drone, sparked and landed,
The debut solo album from Gil De Ray accompanied by Mikey Buckley,
Gave new music venue The Waiting Room its dream show.
In front of an invited crowd of tuned in movers and shakers,
An introductory seven songs’ manifesto for the fires of change was begun.
Here were two musicians wired up by the allotted slot given to them,
Which they quickly ignited with the first touch of the strings and synth drum.
From his musical pad, Gil De Ray conjured paintings,
Sound-spirits on canvas, that enveloped all of those who drew near,
Only half the album was heard but the experience filled all senses,
As swathes of the funk bred from passion reshaped the essence of rock
For each ear. Opening song, EYES WIDE SHUT arrived with a swirling beat
From dark slumber, Buckley’s guitar wah-wah growling as De Ray’s
Incantatory vocals coloured and oiled air and bone. The listeners were entranced,
Caught at once in a fever that stirs the dark snake within them,
Moving through the flesh, seeking home. Rhymes like ‘dynamic/organic’ emerge
As if to revoke and celebrate all that’s hidden and this small room near East London
Something of the truer east filtered in. This made it music as means,
Involving soul, stoking muscle, powered by Buckley’s expert playing,
And by De Ray’s compositions and the world he creates as he sings.
Come Dionysius indeed. LOSING CONTROL kept God going,
As a form of compulsion fed deeply from a glorious empire of sound.
Something in the spaces implored as the skilled rhythm snared you,
And you lost control with the lyric that was dragging you down to the ill.
With songs this intense you might expect some resistance,
But instead, moved to worship, you’d bottle the source, like a pill.
Just six minutes into the set and that earthbound manifesto had risen,
To colour the clouds of sound moving in the sweat and the shift of the room.
Music as ritual reset to take in slow sex and lost glory as the song
Tells its story, each dancing fool flirts with doom.
BURNING FLAG captured this; ‘We’re all so horny for war!’ De Ray told us
And our fast descent found salvation in music as brightly accomplished as this.
The anthem like rhythm was forged and we immediately danced into fire,
As the sweet trip trapped and treasured, the body prepared its air kiss.
You could leave the room and still feel the majesty of the moment,
As the stirring repeat came to fill you and breach anything known
To the night. As the song’s spell involved all in the necessary steps
Towards reason, the music itself was a season, alchemising each worry
And turning all that would soil to pure white. The three or four minute song;
Man’s most perfect creation, when it is unveiled, war’s dark treason
Is something we can assuage and move from. Dance at the dark
And you will surely loosen it from the shadow, exposing the drone as its watching
By something as simple as rewriting the path of the wrong.
There was something of Primal Scream here, or James, or the best of
The Stones in their swagger, but De Ray grounded Jagger with sermons
From some new golden mount. As every beat triggered us into the threat
He configured, every word, shout and note blister made each second of
Song truly count. ‘So, here we are standing like shadows in the dark/
With our eyes closed no one else can see/The vision we have/Alter destiny..’
SYSTEM ERROR built fast on Burning Flag’s searing temple; A Led Zep fused
Funk cluster that was soon relaxing back to Al Green. There was James Brown there,
As well, grooving in time to the shadow as these two white boys channelled
Rivers of rebirth through sound streams. Bootsy Collins, George C,
And echoes somewhere of Joe Strummer, as Jimmy Page snaked through
Buckley, the box programmed drummer was announcing a far brighter world.
IMMIGRANT RISING connects to the displacement ingrained in all people,
Just as they join together, through reverb and echo, even the unromantic
Soul finds its girl. Punk powered this song as De Ray danced among us,
Leaving the stage, his connection between magic and muse was secured.
He simply peopled the room with his own congregation, with Mikey Buckley as Choir,
In this cathedral of song, all were cured. PERFUME then filled the room,
Dedicated to De Ray’s beloved partner, Kirsty Allison; poet, guru,
Muse in the dark, cowboy hat. There in the heat felt through love
And their counter cultural fury, it was clear through new thinking
How these lovers fit, hand in glove. But the dexterous fingers played on
As EGO and I GO sent us further, showing how from this manifesto,
A movement and means could arise; the tale of the limits of those
Who only seek their indulgence, the song dignified true intention,
And turned these green fire spells to red rose. So, here was power and pop,
Here was rock n’ roll forming landscape, like a different city growing
Underneath an Islington Bar. Put your ear to the space between
What you know and what’s wanted. As the drone starts its spying
The new house of love is not far.
The future begins in small rooms.
And here at once are song heralds.
Attend to the shadow
And let new light emerge
From fresh stars.
David Erdos August 24th 2018
Photo Carl Fox