Sunday, 30 August 2009

Bangface - The Arches 28/08/09

Through some convoluted turn of events I ended up going to Bangface on Friday. I was supposed to deliver a reverb pedal to Scotch Egg as he was playing with Go from Dokkebi Q in their new project 'Devilman'. I thought sure why not I haven't been for ages and I'm up for watching their new venture and maybe I'll even enjoy some Vibert or Ceephax or Mike Dred and hey Electrowercz is only down the road so sure I'll do it just stick me on the guest list.

Except it wasn't at Electrowercz it was at The Arches which is in London Bridge and well out of the way for me and actually upon arriving at London Bridge I don't know where this place is and after a lot of traipsing around I end up getting there ten minutes after Devilman are due to start and immediately I realise that what the fuck am I doing coming to Bangface with no drugs it's fucking horrible. But in a way it's queerly amusing, like being on safari in fuckhead land. There's the big lug gurning and pretending to bum his buddy for amusement, there's the girl dressed like a clown being helped outside by her mates because she's stopped being able to vocalise or move her limbs, she'll be alright in a bit, then leaping past her there's the guy in shorts with a water bottle feeling on top of the world and becoming even better mates with his best mate.

I force my way through the BO and backpacks to the smaller room to find Shige and Go running on time and playing sans delay pedal on the bass guitar, not that it seems to matter I guess, they're going down a treat, a dub bass excursion infused with Shige's Scotch Egg style melodies. I hadn't really thought about what they might sound like but upon hearing it I suppose it's exactly what I should have expected. It's alright, and I could probably dig it if I was in a different mood, but I was in a tired old bastard mood and without anything to alter my mood or the will to find anything to alter my mood I decided to go for a fag and check out all the stupid outfits in the smoking area.

I saw a bit of that incredibly irritating swinging stuff around on strings thing (what's that shit called again?) and some guy looking for his drugs that he just dropped because he's completely off his tits and that was it, I left because it was all doing my head in. I had to negotiate this little shirtless midget with dreadlocks simulating dog sex with a shapeless, fucked up cow of a girl on my way out which was disgusting, but just outside the club I saw this K'd up guy having extreme difficulty standing up on perfectly level ground but clearly loving the fact and that was pretty hilarious really.

So I didn't see Vibert or Mike Dred or Ceephax, and Shige didn't get his delay pedal, but you know what I don't feel like it was a waste of time. I actually enjoyed it in a strange, detached way. I used to go to Bangface quite a lot because it was always a good old rave-up, and it was good to be reminded why I stopped going. 'Cause I stopped taking loads of drugs. And 'cause I'm becoming a moaning old cunt.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

noise=noise - The Foundry 26/08/09

So I missed the second and third wednesdays of the month of noise=noise due to an impromptu camping trip and a bout of something I don't remember, but I made it to this one, the final one. And I missed the first four acts or so, but nevermind, it's not like the rest of the night was much cop.

I think the first act I saw was called Baraclough, it's always hard to tell at these sorts of things because there's never any setlist on display and if anyone is introduced it's through a distorted mic that makes everything sound like you're drowning in mud. Anyway let's say it was Baraclough that I saw, well they were passable, a mixture of placid throbbing drone and some naff delay. I could liken it to a sawmill cutting through iron logs, but it was probably far less harsh than that would actually sound. The finale was the best bit, a bright wall of sound that almost touched on euphoria there for a minute.

Next up, this older guy played a laptop drone set which was both the least dynamic and most satisfying set of the night (that I saw). A heavy wodge of harsh drone, a tonne of black rubble rolling deep under high frequency squeals just shy of piercing.

That's him, I don't know his name but he was pretty good actually. Dunno if that comes across in this shitty photo.

I then managed to miss Cementimental which was annoying because all I did was smoke a fag and he'd finished. Apparently he smashed up a bunch of equipment. I got downstairs in time to hear some applause so I'll go ahead and say he did a good set anyway. Or at least good enough that some people clapped.

I don't know what the next guy was called but he had really long dreads and he was shit. He mixed a bunch of wavs together with a lot of jumping about and waving his skanky hair about but not much thought or talent. In fact no talent. Maybe I'm biased because I fucking hate dreadlocks, which is another thing actually, how come like ninety percent of the people in The Foundry have that shaved head apart from three dreads sticking out at a jaunty angle haircut? I don't get the idea. They look like hairy shits. One nearly touched me last night, nearly touched my face when this guy turned around near me. Pretty much ruined my night. Asshole.

The last guy, EQ-AV had less dreads than whateverhisnamewas and proportionately more talent, like some kind of reverse Samson effect was in play. However, he still wasn't particularly good. Mixing video files in Traktor, projecting the results on the wall and manipulating the audio in the standard EQ knob twiddling way, he started out promisingly with some cacophonous footage of London traffic creating the impression of being repeatedly run over by a bus, but went steadily downhill until he was basically making shit industrial techno using boring footage of some iron bars and a plant.

I was glad to get home and shower to be honest.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Stereo Juggernaut/Uncle Pedro/Voltage Players - Catch 25/08/09

Taking their cue from every successful North American alt rock band since the nineties, Voltage Players sound like an amalgamation of every successful North American alt rock band since the nineties. With a leaning towards Shellac.

Taking their cue from every successful North American alt rock band since the nineties, Uncle Pedro sound like an amalgamation of every successful North American alt rock band since the nineties. With a leaning towards Fugazi.

Taking their cue from Placebo and Evanescence and shit like that, and the fact that they have a midget in a leather jacket with a teenager's haircut as their frontman and a clueless German miniscule square of chin hair wearing beefcake on emotive keyboard, Stereo Juggernaut sound like shit.

Faux-harmonica keyboard solos can never be excused.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Colour Ride All Dayer - The Windmill 15/08/09

I was pretty distracted during this whole thing due to attempting to film it all, but after getting a taxi to the wrong venue in the wrong part of London and lugging a load of equipment to this
back road pub, here's the stuff that stood out:

- A big old Irish cunt serving up barbecued food with a scowl and the temperament of an irritated bear. Procuring a burger has never seemed so frightening, or amusing.

- KK/KK opening the day with a decent bout of slightly too quiet drone.

- Mutant Ape delivering a solid wodge of noise in a biscuit tin.

- An awful gaggle of fools channelling their inner retard in the smoking area via the medium of shit instruments played with feckless abandon.

- Drums and sax free jazz outfit Rose-Nichols Duo (I presume) who would probably have been more impressive had I not had Alex Ward, Alan Wilkinson and Yoshida Tatsuya make my ears cum the weekend previous.

- French improv pedal pushers Motherfucking inadvertently looking like they were furiously wanking and enthusiastically sucking dick whilst playing, which was hilarious and yes, puerile, but way more entertaining than their music, unfortunately.

- A horse-riding looking woman swaying over some space journey synth. Stellar Om Source, I believe. She was average and Dutch.

- Blood Stereo cancelling.

Overall the lineup was as varied in its sound as it was in its quality, but the infectiously laid back atmosphere remained constant throughout the whole affair. Whilst nothing wowed this cynic, it was at least a relaxing day, even with the effort of recording bundled on top of it. I appreciate the work put in to organising something like this so respect to Colour Ride for keeping its knuckle down and promoting the experimental, even if half the experiments produce stinky results.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Drum Eyes w/ Damo Suzuki - Hoxton Bar & Grill 11/08/09

Drum Eyes change line-up every time I see them, and tonight, despite the absence of Trencher Liam on drums, was their best yet. Two drummers, two synthers, one guitar and Scotch Egg Shige alternating between bass, laptop and synth, they brewed up a psychedelic storm heavy enough to drench the busy bar and grill. There were times where it turned almost to grey soup but at their best they sounded like a heavier version of Goblin, which is a mean synth horror and no mean feat.

So then what happened in the break? When (most of) Drum Eyes returned to the stage to improv with Damo Suzuki it all started out very timidly as a slow, background ambience and went nowhere. Where did all the energy and verve go? And volume? It was weak. The last set had sounded frightening but this one just sounded frightened, like no one wanted to take the responsibility of picking the track up and running with it, no one wanted to grab Damo by the balls and say freak out to this Suzuki you old fuck. So there it was, old Damo waxing lame over some pretty uninspired drone muzak. I gave it about fifteen minutes and left feeling like I'd given it hours. Maybe they should lay off the spliff in the interval. Fuck knows.

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.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

noise=noise - The Foundry 05/08/09

The first of a month of wednesdays for noise=noise at the finest of the fixed gear cider hippie hangouts The Foundry, and what a month it looks set to be. I started off in fine form, arriving just in to time to miss most of the acts, including but not limited to Ryan Jordan and Joel Cahen, but their sets were probably great so that's what I'll say. I saw Cementimental play even though he wasn't on the bill. He played five minutes or so of harsh nonsense using his homemade Noisebox, essentially a black box with knob and switch protrusions on several sides, none of which have any kind of chilled out setting. Good fun that.

John Wall played next, a whole different proposition altogether, playing far from harsh noises on an easily recognisable piece of silver kit with a glowing fruit in the centre of it's lid. It's been quite some time since I've enjoyed a pure laptop set but Wall's highly considered improvisation was teasingly seductive and expertly reined in. With one hand constantly up, fingers tweezering as if plucking the sounds out of the ether, he made his apple weep in restraint, his soundcard capitulating to constipation, often emitting barely more than a hiss while the remnants of the last yelp were given room to die completely, alone.

After hanging around outside for a bit, drinking a can from the shop and soaking up the multifarious fumes of the relentlessly busy intersection outside the Foundry, I made my way back to the basement in time to hear the last three notes of Cheap Machines' set, which sounded nice, I guess. It's not much to go on really. Regardless, the evening was a relaxed and pleasurable one and I'm very much looking forward to the next three Wednesdays. Fo sho.