Thursday, 30 April 2009

Horacio Pollard - The Black Sheep 29/04/09

This was in Croydon. Fucking CROYDON. I'd never been to Croydon before and within minutes of getting off the train it became obvious why as I saw a two men trying to kill each other, one of them eventually picking up a length of I think corrugated iron - I mean like a large pointed shard of rusted fence - and chasing after the other one with it.

So that was fun and I found the place, late, missed Cementimental and Bbblood and got a terrible pint of cider from the bar. Horacio Pollard played a wildly different set to the manic screaming horror of the recent show I'd seen, this one more of a sombre affair, but no less imposing. Slower and lower, an ocean liner of tortured corpses, perpetually sailing into a midnight harbour. The screams, sickening. Literally sickening. Even moreso than the stuff they serve on draught here.

A hellish landscape that fit Croydon like a black leather glove.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Ingested - Old Blue Last 25/04/09

I am way behind on these write ups, so much so that I can barely remember this gig other than I was supposed to be going to some terrible club to see someone but at the last minute got told not to bother because everyone was leaving and just to go to some other place and wait, at which point I got a sudden recollection that wasn't there supposed to be some metal gig on at The Old Blah Blah so I went there instead because it was just around the corner and lo and behold there WAS a metal gig on and it was a blast.

Sure, it was probably helped by the fact that I dodged a dodgy dance club bullet and ended up there by surprise, but regardless, it was decent. There was leather and hair and sweat and BC Riches. They played death metal I guess, who knows, metal genres are a fucking minefield but they were tight, fast and heavy and really fucking entertaining so what more do you want from them? Saved my night. They tore it up and looked dead pleased with themselves. And rightly so.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Skullflower - St Giles in the Field Church 18/04/09

As the drone swirls within the capacious domes and alcoves of the St Giles in the Field church, the slow figures of Matt Bower and his comrades sway in front of the altar, guitars strung low. It's the perfect setting for Skullflower's dense, spiralling sound, the building manipulating the group as it swallows and reverberates at will, a complex mind of its own.

A darkly alternative church service, consuming, forever escalating and ultimately... queerly soothing. It's not quite a religious experience but it's certainly a pleasantly affecting one and it has me slipping from pew to aisle as the heaviness plays literal on my head and I lay there supine, fuzzy and content.

Monday, 13 April 2009

David Byrne - The Royal festival Hall 12/04/09

I booked these tickets so long ago that by the time tonight came around I was pretty much vibrating with anticipation. David fucking Byrne in the grand surroundings of the Royal Festival Hall. Yes please.

So we sit down and the show starts and Byrne is humble and joking around, looking perfect in all white with silver hair and he kicks into some Byrne and Eno stuff that I'm not mad into but it's fine, and then he really gets a groove on and it's the oddest thing just sitting there in the RFH. Just sitting there while Byrne struts that signature jerky head pecking style, it's awkward. I want to get up and move and I want everyone to get up and move because this is just a real strange thing to witness right now, sat here in a seat, thinking about is the woman next to me pissed off 'cause I'm using the armrest there. It's like how do you go to see David Byrne and sit there and barely even nod your head to the beat, people? Bizarre. It had the feel of all the fun was on stage and the crowd was just staring at it.

And then he plays Crosseyed and Painless and thank fuck people are hoisted up and we run to the front and dance and we don't stop for the rest of the set and we dance through two, three, four(?) encores and it is a wonderful thing as he goes from one incredible groove to the next. Grooves worn in to your ears but never worn out. Impossible to wear out. And surrounding those grooves is the performance on stage, choreographed but loose, the cynic in me wanted to dismiss it - these silly prancing dancers - but it's too much fun. It's only good vibes and you can't ignore good vibes big enough to fill a place like this.

So. Damn. Fun.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Wet Paint - The Old Blue Last 09/04/09

Ah Wet Paint, you sound like my own personal nostalgia. All Pavemented and Dino Juniored up, I can hear you from bygone times, the buzz of youth still audible in your amps, despite being drained from your faces.

It's maybe a year since I last saw these guys and evidently they've been practising. They're tight now, but still retain the appealing fuzz to it all, like they've been serviced but neglected to opt for the full valet. And with welcome new addition Macks Faulkron chewing away on bass they've injected a touch of the Thin Lizzy into the proceedings, which is like who wouldn't want that?

So hooray for Wet paint, a band far more entertaining to watch than their literal namesake. I will see you again, because you are my mates.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Aaron Dilloway/Nate Young/Family Battle Snake - The Grosvenor 07/04/09

Slowly slowly builds the background, swirling up behind the insistant dull thud that almost sounds like it's coming from next door. It's drone and it's a fairly unremarkable set from Family Battle Snake but it serves as a decent enough warm up to the evening's events, lulling everyone into a half asleep, half wired state, perfect recepticles for the slow noise meanderings to come.

Nate Young sits in front of his contraption stacks with a single drum at his side and gurns his way through a quiet, creepy set. All itchy contact mic abuse, delayed into a rhythm and uncomfortably sustained as if restrained by shackles, prevented from dissipating into the atmosphere. There's even a bit of spoken word in the middle there, evoking black holes and bottomless pits, complementing the soundtrack far more than sounds likely on paper. And there's a stunning transition midway, when the almost overwhelmingly tense, slowly growing rough boulder of sound is suddenly crushed to a distant rumble, only to become the deep beat running under the rest of the set. Affecting stuff.

Not to be outdone, Aaron Dilloway takes to the stage and sets in motion the whisper of a tape, the loose loop of it hanging over the back of his desk, artfully placed on the heads so it slithers around, wrong and organic looking. And the set winds slowly denser, with more tape manipulations and noise administrations, the quiet caution gradually abandoned until two contact mics are stuffed inside his cheeks, wires trailing out of his mouth like a war torture victim and the creature that seemed so reluctant to be heard is suddenly bearing down on you, fitting and spasming and tearing at your ears, a pained sound, attacking out of fear like a cornered animal until it's abruptly shot dead by it's own father.

Fucking excellent.

Monday, 6 April 2009

International Noise Conference: Laundry Room Squelchers/Bbblood/Horacio Pollard/Blue Sabbath Black Fiji/Girl Mountain - Gramaphone 06/04/09

The concept for this Noise Conference evening is punchy little sets with no lappies. Kind of a raw noise smorgasbord. I caught the second half of the eight act roster, still reeling from a heavy weekend, I figured a noise gig would go down a treat. And it did.

Girl Mountain are a one boy one girl duo sitting with no shoes on running vox and mini keys through a rack of pedals and knobs in a set that was just one long crescendo. Like being
pulled through a forest of dead leaves, the howling wind slowly picking up and distorting more and more but with a warmth there, under it all. Not unpleasant, quite soothing even, but ultimately the lack of dynamics rendered this set a right old plain jane.

So then on to the markedly different Horacio Pollard old buddy old pal. Stripped down to just a mic, a few pedals and a guitar amp, Pollard rips the atmosphere to shreds with a wild beast of a performance. Pure aggression just tears through the mic, like being shouted at by an angry, industrial goliath. It's all spontaneous and reactive but it's controlled which is the real trick here, the intent. There's nothing extraneous, no leaking feedback, just a fucking staccato horror that demands your full attention. And you give it willingly.

Up next are Glasgow based lovers Blue Sabbath Black Fiji and their enthusiastic crunchings. Full of verve they roughly spank their guitars and drum machine and etceteras, It's all very free and fun and full of verve but really it's not doing much, the excitement visible on stage never really managing to emerge in the sound. An edgeless blur, an unfocused experiment, lacking results.

So to a personal favourite, the Baron, Bbblood. This is the guy. A man at one with his switch array, it's all power. All clunking metal. It's a terrible car factory built wrong, spitting out lethal vehicles. You can make out the screams of the twisted car frames in pain, and Bbblood is taunting them, poking at them with an electric prod and guiding them into the compactor. A sadistic foreman with absolute authority over his machinery. Fearsome stuff.

And topping off this lovely evening are the amorphous, Miami living, Rat Bastard headed gang o' weirdos, The Laundry Room Squelchers, with a two minute long freak out of screaming, singing, flying about, dragging along and inadvertant wire unplugging. It's a condensed mess, it's fine, it is what it is, freestyle over substance.

Wevie Stonder/Agaskodo Teliverek - Some secret location in Limehouse 04/04/09

The big, secret gate opens and I go down and around and down and around to the bottom of what is pretty much just a big empty squat and there's a load of wobbly squatters all watching Agaskodo Teliverek doing their thing. Their thing has changed up a quite a bit too, most tracks rearranged, re-goulashed with new bits, new jerky stop start bits, groovier sections and better drums. Much better drums actually. And new tracks to boot. They've upped their crazy game substantially and I like it a lot. It's fun, it rocks, it's jiggy, it's like they've made lego models out of duplo and technic and regular bright red bricks and left them in the garden to get a bit dirty. It's a jolly good time.

And then yes, so, waiting for Wevie and this place is whirling almost exclusively with drunk guys sporting caps and tracky tops and slaughtered girls with skirts over jeans because like why. But it's a good vibe nonetheless and when Wevie S hit the stage it's a big dance comedy party. The freakishly tall freakishly toothed frontman stamps a rubber stamp on my arm that says Wevie Stonder: Survival of the Shittest as they all jump around in wigs and hodgepodge coats made of photos and fur toys, playing instruments and pretending to play instruments in equal measures, it seems. For a complete load of nonsense it's all very accomplished really, the whole ridiculous thing like some drunk old bunch of seaside circus anarchists. There's even a knobbly knee competition with a disqualified contestant. See. Thoroughly bloody enjoyable.