Monday, 29 June 2009

Thou/Moloch/Jackal Headed Guardian Of The Dead/Haar - Henry's Cellar Bar (Edinburgh) 25/06/09

Disclaimer: In truth I'm writing this a month after the show and I have no notes to reference and I don't remember too much about it, but I don't like to skip over gigs on this blog so here's some stuff I'm pretty sure happened...

I can take a certain amount of theatricality and gothic affectation but Haar strayed into silly territory and I can't take silly seriously, so I went outside and smoked a fag. Next up were Jackal Headed Guardian of the Dead who were like a sloppy Sleep, with a drummer who seemed to not really know what was going on and a guitarist who put as much emphasis on standing with his legs wide apart and sticking his tongue out as he did on his riffs, but the spirit was genuine and the show was solidly entertaining.

Comprising some ex-Army of Flying Robots and some other guys, Moloch stepped on stage and straight away hoisted a weighty bucket of sludge upon the audience, covering our heads in it and getting it in our ears, which is what we wanted to hear, here, tonight. I think. It's fine, nothing new really, but done well and played well by good musicians. I particularly like the guitarist who looks about eight. That's a good look.

Crawling all the way from the swamps of Louisiana and headlining the night was Thou, soon to be put out on Southern Lord, which for any sludgey doom type band is a great thing to have on your CV. They sounded the part for sure, and even had a satisfyingly redneck looking vocalist, wild eyed and weasely, with a hell of a tortured scream on him. With heaving, droning guitars, crushing drums and deep, slow bass penetration they ticked all the requisite boxes with a pen dipped in the blood of a sacrificed goat. Not jolly, but a jolly good show.

All in all not bad for a night chanced upon and attended on a whim whilst in Edinburgh. I even picked up a copy of The Hardcore/Punk Guide to Christianity from the zine section of the merch stall, which by the way all shows should have a zine section. It answers questions like what does Jesus think of tattoos. It's not as funny as it sounds.

Mogwai - HMV Picturehouse (Edinburgh) 24/06/09

This was the UK Premiere of the ATP film, where they'd promised an 'extra special Scottish band' was going to be performing after the film, which I already knew was going to be Mogwai, but I came to see the film so that didn't put me off. Anyway, they played and I was there so I'll do the review.

They were boring as usual.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Burial Hex/Saturn Finger/Kinit Her - Cafe Oto 16/06/09

Kinit Her up first with an odd mixture of growling, extremely high pitched vocals and staid metal riffs which you'd assume were a joke if they didn't look so serious about it. I wouldn't recommend it.

I'd come to see Burial Hex who was apparently going to perform a set especially adapted for the idiosyncrasies of Cafe Oto, which turned out to mean he played Oto's grand piano for a bit before continuing on as normal, smashing bits of metal into each other and manipulating distorted loops with effects pedals. The piano was accomplished and morose in the extreme and accompanied by some chanting and growling vocals, with very quiet, soft, noise under it all. It was all satisfyingly gloomy. The perfect intro to the crushing noise that made up the rest of the set, like something irascible was lurking there and spurred to erupt. Very angry, almost frightening, and utterly engrossing.

Rounding off the night were Saturn Finger, who just sounded like a couple of amiable but demented alpaca farmers calling upon some Peruvian god for god knows what. Something exciting maybe? Their god wasn't very forthcoming.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Wooden Pigs - The Winchester, Bournemouth 06/06/09

I'll be honest, this is my cousin's band and that's why I went to see them. I knew they liked Kings of Leon a lot so I wasn't expecting it to be my bag, and it wasn't really my bag, but it was a good bag nonetheless. A bag that a lot of people would love, I'm sure.

This was a charity gig and to please the crowd they played a bunch of Kings of Leon covers in amongst their own stuff, which was uneccessary really, because as far as I could tell, their stuff was better than the KoL stuff. The band has all the elements in place, pretty much. A solid rhythm section, a talented guitarist and a singer with just the right amount of attitude. It's all there and if they can find their own voice just a little bit more then they could do really well I reckon, selling their bag in all good retailers nationwide.

Primavera Sound - Parc Del Forum, Barcelona 28-30/5/09

Barcelona is so lovely and the line up for Primavera Sound looked pretty amazing so I thought I'd go along and miss quite a lot of it, due to having free beer on tap all weekend thanks to my friend sorting me out with a magic ticket.

Here's some stuff I remember. The first thing I saw was Lightning Bolt, which was surprising because usually most people can't actually see them because they're on the floor in the crowd. But so this time they played on stage, I don't know if that's a first, but it was a first for me and I've seen them a whole bunch of times. Considering it's like an integral part of their shtick that they play on the floor, it was actually really great to see them play on stage. Perversely it had a kind of novelty value, I guess. Seeing a band on stage. Anyway, they rocked pretty hard.

Then I saw Jesus Lizard again, which was even better than last time I saw them a couple of weeks ago, somehow, although there was nowhere near the same level of stage diving action from Yow. He made up for it by doing a lot of freaky dancing though, which was a sight to behold. I think I saw Dead Meadow next, who were drunk as hell, just like me. It was great, they just locked into their grooves and played real slack. It was obvious they were having a good time and it really osmosed into the crowd and everyone was swaying in that drunk and stoned manner that people do at laid back psychedelic shows, until the bass player stumbled backwards a bit too much, knocked over his wine bottle and said something to the guitarist that I presume was Man I'm so fucking drunk I can't play because they stopped pretty much right then and were rewarded with much slack applause and heartfelt but flaccid whistling from the wasted crowd.

Made it back up to the big ass beer sponsored stage to drink more sponsored beers while it was fingers in your ears for My Bloody Valentine's increasingly infamous noise holocaust finale. I like watching other people watching this bit, it's funny how much everyone is looking forward to seeing MBV play and how much everyone can't stand listening to it by the end. Different strokes and all that, I just like listening to solid noise played really fucking loud.

What was next, oh yeah, Aphex played a way better set than at Bloc, despite it being a bit 'going through the motions', but I mean whaddya want from the guy? Some stuff to dance to with a bit of a fucking weirdo attitude to it, pretty much. Really great visuals too, including some scat stuff that made me glad I hadn't managed to get any drugs because that would mess with a my high something terrible.

Squarepusher played next but he's a boring old self cheering muso whose current output is overwrought, soulless bullshit really isn't he? So I called it a night.

The next two nights were far less eventful, friday starting out terribly with Art Brut, possibly the most vile band I've ever seen. Hey this next one is about when I realised that there's only two things that matter in life and that's DC comics and chocolate milkshake. Hey this next one is about heroin addiction. I mean seriously just fuck off. So damn punchable.

Thankfully Sunn O))) played a brief but great set. Seeing the Grimmrobe Demos outdoors in Spain as the sun is going down is really a special thing, especially when you turn around and the path leading down to the stage is rammed full of people throwing horns in the air. I love that shit.

Jarvis Cocker is endearing.

Shellac are incredible. I don't know if it's the intoxication of holiday, or alcohol, or heat, or what, but this set is the best I've seen them play in a long time. Solid dirty crunchy fucking snide rock music.

And that's about it. Saturday just had a disappointing Neil Young (he finished with a Beatles cover and keep on rocking in the free world for Christ's sake) an underwhelming Sonic Youth and a Zombie Zombie that played really late that I couldn't be bothered to sit through the Black Lips for because I really can't stand the Black Lips. Man I'm a bit gutted, I really wanted to see Zombie Zombie you know. Oh well.

Overall I guess I liked the festival, although it climaxed on the thursday for me and then just had two more nights pumping away with dwindling effectiveness. It was certainly nicer than Sonar, but almost all the good stuff was on the ATP stage, so I dunno who to praise really. I'm getting pretty fed up with praising ATP, but it's not their fault they keep putting on great bands now is it?

Right, now the festival is over I'm off to the beach to get constantly hounded by people trying to sell me shit. Fun in the sun, people.

Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu)/Prurient & Cold Cave - Cargo 25/05/09

I went to this because the Prurient set I saw a couple of years ago was fucking incredible. This show tonight was a load of shit. I mean it was laughable. He was playing with Cold Cave. I don't know who Cold Cave are but I can tell you one thing, they look like gestapo hipsters. Actually, two things, they sound like shit New Order. Prurient sticks some noise behind it all but it's no use. It's beyond help. I go outside to smoke.

I hoped that Jamie Stewart would be a nice surprise, he was the reason this was so expensive after all. Well, turns out he was a surprise, not exactly good, more just very odd. An obviously heartfelt performance, stripped down Xiu xiu tracks for the most part, just vocals and guitar with an occasional blurt of casio keyboard. Really very inventive in many ways, but trite in as many others. Extremely crass gay lyrics which fluctuated between brilliant and stupid and managed to get the high density bear crowd emoting all over the place. I really couldn't decide whether I liked him or not but I felt fairly compelled to continue watching him, and that's better than most acts manage I suppose.

Kayaking - The Macbeth 25/05/09

Two lovely girls, one heavy gig. Industrial and brutal drums over pyschadelic synths, it's the soundtrack to an outer space mining colony. I'm biased, because my girlfriend is one of the two girls, but they are dead good and everyone should check them out. Just don't hit on the tall one.