Sunday, 9 August 2009

Ruins Alone/Alex Ward and Alan Wilkinson - Cafe Oto 09/08/09

Well this was so damn good now where do I start? Well where did they start? Alex Ward and Alan Wilkinson pick up their clarinet and sax respectively and immediately fill Cafe Oto with an intense scream that has no business being made by just two men and a couple of tubes with holes. And it doesn't let off for the length of their first piece, even when both guys decapitate their instruments and get to playing little chirps with the severed mouthpieces, it's all done with such relentless energy that it manages to sound fierce and like a delicate dawn chorus all at once. Impossible! But No! Wilkinson was playing the sax with his leg at one point. Leg saxaphone, no shit. They enter into their second piece a little more subdued, little lower, little slower, lulling us a little before they simultaneously have heart attacks into their instruments and Alan abandons his altogether and goes pure vocal, freaking out like some kind of cock-eyed, farcical gorilla and then it's just some moans, moans and groans, moaning down through a dismembered clarinet, groaning into a baritone sax, whatever, it's brilliant.

Yoshida Tatsuya plays next as Ruins Alone, playing drums and keyboard and vocals and flicking around with backing tracks. The whole set is a torrential outpouring of ideas, overloading, utterly insane, rabid music. There's a lot of Zheul type material in there and some metal and there's fucking ridiculous synth noise bits and there's a section comprised of tiny segments of various national anthems, pop classical favourites and the phantom of the opera. What the hell is that? It felt like he could have played forever, never running out of energy or material, as if this is just what's happening in his head all the time and if you give him a drumkit to sit behind he'll let you in on it for a bit. When he stops it's abrupt and comes from nowhere and you realise you're still trying to process the stuff he was playing five minutes ago and by the time you've caught up with him he's had a ten minute break and it's time for all three guys to play together, time for the trio.

Ward swaps clarinet for electric guitar, then swaps back and swaps back again until by the end of the set he's playing both at the same time. Yoshida channels the gods and rains down an almighty storm on drums and keys, while Alan cheekily farts his saxaphones around it all. It is on the fucking limits man, it's crazy, it's heavy, it's mesmerising, it dips into Slayer then chews up the tape and throws it in a pond. It is freaky fucking music and it's infectious and the whole evening was so right on and so fucking righteous that when it's all over the crowd start barking like dogs because they've just had their minds flipped fully upside down and that's what crazy people do, they bark like dogs and they wiggle their tails.

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