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AFTER a particularly dreamy Sunday all blurry with sunshine, Californian five-piece Ceremony brought the Bodega crowd back to harsh reality with their explosive and unpredictable punk rock.

Ceremony are a band that changes their sound quicker than the British summer weather, the band brought their fifth album, The L-shaped Man to a conflicted audience collecting together their early days as a hardcore punk band to their recent revamp as Joy Division-inspired indie-rockers.

The raw surges of Sick jarred with the brooding melodies of later tracks like ‘Separation’ but the audience were undeterred and ready.

Singer, Ross Farrar’s once aggressive cries were partly replaced by the monotone unease of Ian Curtis. But any fears that fans would have abandoned Ceremony and their new sound were unfounded. The loyal Ceremony supporters in their makeshift pit were content to sway along to the Interpol-influenced Exit Fears as they were to flail around to the lung-bursting Hysteria.

Regardless of the crowd’s clashing expectations, Ceremony generated a swirling intensity and furious sound, with crawling basslines and unsettling stares. It was an evening of brothers-in-arms, sweaty stranger clutched onto sweaty stranger, with nods of solidarity and gratitude from frontman Farrar who spent the evening in the crowd staring into those eager faces who were screaming back his lyrics.

While the alternative media both slates and congratulates Ceremony for “being so hardcore they’ve left the genre completely”, the split personality of Ceremony was lapped up and no one can argue that a band named after a Joy Division song is finally revering its biggest influence.

Written for the Nottingham Post online

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