Archive for October, 2010


Ruddy ‘ell, it’s the Swans!

Swans closed the festival and I confess I didn’t see the entire set due to be being completely knackered from the day’s proceedings. They opened with “No Words / No Thoughts” from the new album (which is superb), except they extended the chimes at the beginning for a good twenty minutes. Gira prowled around looking sour and determined. He made a crack “Good evening ladies…you English guys are so damn effeminate” which was a slightly inaccurate observation based on the proportion of Brian Blessed impersonators in the venue. At times Gira was genuinally sphincter clenchingly scary – “JESUS!JESUS CHRIST! SAY HIS NAME! SAY IT!” he roared at one point. Swans were as expected, brutal, powerful, ugly, beautiful, dirty and pure. I would have liked Jarboe to have been part of the reformation (she performed Supersonic last year and was mesmerising) just to temper some of the hypermasculinity but that is only a small niggle.
If you haven’t listened to the album I’ve linked some tasters below. If you like Gira’s unforgiving worldview try and get hold of a copy of his collection of short stories “The Consumer”, highly recommended.
All in all, this years Supersonic was the best as far as varied acts were concerned, minor quibbles was The Old Library venue, timetable clashes (to be expected really) and the bitter cold (the Stage 2 venue was actually colder inside than outside during the Master Musicians of Bukkake. Personal faves – Nisennenmondai, Factory Floor, Hallogallo, King Midas Sound, and Pika Pika Supercurry . Not so fave experiences – aching calves, tinnitus (it was hard getting to sleep on Sunday with an improvised noise jam going on in my brain pan) and accidently crashing a skin head night at a local pub inbetween acts. Next stop ATP in Minehead to see Throbbing Gristle, Godspeed!You Black Emperor and Nomeansno ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ™‚

Little Mouth

Reeling the Liars in

You Fucking People Make Me SIck

 

Hallogallo

It’s a toss up between Nisennenmondai and Hallogallo for best set.
Steve Shelley’s drumming was really soulful (can you describe drumming as soulful?). Michael Rother seemed to be able to wrest some beautiful sounds out of his guitar with effortless ease. The music had an incredible pulsing momentum which seemed to envelop your body and carry you along with the euphoria. Very very very good.

Factory Floor played the Outside Stage and were very good. I was looking forward to seeing them after downloading their EP, I especially liked “A Wooden Box”. They kinda remind me a little like Suicide in their use of repetitive, niggling synth lines. Live they seemed to be even better, their tracks would morph from delay heavy post rock into insistent, pulsing disco/house/whatever you call music that makes you want to do the chicken head dance. They were very good, I’m interested to see how they evolve cuz at the moment they’ve tapped into an interesting vein. Click below to hear “A Wooden Box”.

 

After Factory Floor we squeezed into the Old Library to see Chrome Hoof. I swear with every set that place became exponentially more crowded. Also there was a pungent yeasty smell permeating the space which made me feel increasingly misanthropic. The band were kitted out in silver lame cowls, the Earth Kitt-like lead was in a chrome jumpsuit and their music was …pretty indescribable really. Each song was a melding of at least three different genres which seemed to make sense in a skewed, bugeyed way. Some prick got onto the stage at one point and proceeded to do some very naff naff dad dancing. there was no security to police the rammed-to-the gills venue so it was left for a pissed off guitarist to nudge him off stage after he outstayed his welcome. Good gig, bad venue, Supersonic need to consider using the Old Library for acts less likely to draw a crowd.

I saw Khyam Allami and TMMoB play seperately last year and were both good, but having them on the same stage this year was an inspired collaboration.

TMMob came on dressed in Keffiyahs and carried ย out some impenetrable ritual with burning incense (or a really large Moseley Marrow, I couldn’t tell from my vantage point), lots of bowing and genuflecting. It was a nice mystical piece of musical theatre, ย and Allami’s oud (?) playing was beautiful. I just wish I was listening to it lying on pillows with a sheesha and some exotic bint feeding me fresh pomengranates rather than freezing my nuts of in some barn in Birmingham.Unfortunately ย I couldn’t see the entire set due to timetable clashes with Factory Floor. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Ruins was the first artiste I saw on Sunday – frenetic drum fills and random gibberish. OK but not really my thing.

Nisennenmondai were excellent last year and this year they were even better. Their playing is amazingly tight and precise and their drummer (Sayako Himeno) is just an incredible machine, battering out rock solid rhythms, at one point towards the end of the set it looked like she was headbutting the toms. The guitarist (Masako Takada) also had an interesting technique of coaxing scratchy percussive sounds from her axe. I don’t think I stopped dancing for the entire set. They ended the set with “We are Nisennenmondai from Tokyo, we are very happy to be here”. Ahh the sweeties. Definately one of my favorite live bands ever.

 

Godflesh

I was really looking forward to Godflesh. I’ve probably seen them play live more times than any other band and I’ve pretty much got anything and everything that Justin Broderick has ever done. It was a little strange seeing them in a cavernous venue, but they managed to fill the venue with their crushing, raging noise. The drum machine sounded crisp and unforgiving and Justin howled and roared like a good ‘un. I only lasted for 3 tracks (all from Streetcleaner) before I had to leave, not because of the music but after 6 hours on my feet my back had started seizing up. I must be getting old, next year I’ll bring an inflatable seat, ear defenders and comfy slippers.

Probably my favourite band for Saturday night – I’m a big fan of just about anything Kevin Martin has produced.

Dubby, melodic and a nice bowel quivering bass. I liked Hitoshi’s vocals too, kinda like Martina Topley Bird. It’s a shame they couldn’t play a longer set ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

As a consolation here’s a small taster. Enjoy!

KKNull and Lash Frenzy

KK Null was on stage whilst Lash Frenzy was torturing his guitar to the side of a packed audience. Add strobing, clouds of dry ice and deep, pulsing bass frequencies that really pushed some air and made your body quiver like a jelly and you got complete sensory overload. I talked to one of the barman afterwards and he told me how confused and distressed faces would just loom out of the fog , mouthing inaudible requests for booze. I lasted 20 minutes before my lack of earplugs began to jeopardise my hearing. Trying to get out of the venue was a trial in itself due to only one exit next to where Lash Frenzy was playing, and too many people crammed into too little space. We escaped to the theatre space where David Stubbs made some interesting points about why abstract music has not made the same inroads into popular consciousness as abstract art has. I liked Brian Duffy’s idea about how we are hardwired to Western Tuning and anything that strays to far from this is perceived as uncomfortably dissonant.

After Blue Sabbath Black Fiji we went to see Gnaw (Alan Dubin from Khanate) -meh- so we wnadered off to the outdoor stage and saw Steve Tromans and Dan Nicholls.

It was a live improvisation with Fender Rhodes. The interplay of the tones was very soothing and relaxing although my copilot said that it sounded very similar to the product a generative music app (not that that is necessarily a bad thing). Anywho, it left a nice mellow glow before plunging in to see KK Null and Lash Frenzy.

These were the first act I saw on Saturday. They made an infectious insane spazzy noise. They appeared to be having a whale of a time and Icouldn’t help smiling. They even threw in a bit of audience participation. They won me over and I ended up buying a couple of CDRs, I’ll try and review them once I’ve had a listen. Highly recommended if you get a chance to see them live.