Tag Archive: 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 πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

Little Mouth

Reeling the Liars in

You Fucking People Make Me SIck




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.

King Midas Sound

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 😦

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.

I’ve spent this weekend at Supersonic, an annual noise, avant guard, doom metal etc festival held at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

It’s usually held in the Summer but for this year it took place in October, the downside being instead of balmy summer evenings we had cold damp weather but that didn’t put a dampener on some great sets.

First of all I’ll get the gripes of my chest.

  • Queues for etickets – when we turned up on the first night the queues were snaking around the block, which meant we had no chance of catching the first acts Gumtakestooth (who sounded really intriguing) and Necrodeathmort. The queue for prepaid ticks was four times the length for the “pay at the door” queue which seemed to defeat the object of planning ahead. We retired to the local pub until the queues became less daunting and managed to catch the tail end of Demons and Sick Llama set. It was an atmospheric, menacingly restrained drone but a combination of too much booze and a busy day at work meant we didn’t have the stamina to stay for Napalm Deaths set. There’s no doubt they are an incredibly influential band and I really admire Mick Harris’s sonic adventures but as a teen listening to John Peel I found their brief bursts of grunting and machine gun drumming a little impenetrable. I checked out their myspace page and their latest stuff is far more accesible but they still come across as humourless wankers peddling adolescent nihilism. (This view is coloured by Stewart Maconies’s account of touring with them in Cider with Roadies. Apparently they were so obnoxious he ritually defaced all their LPs on his return home.)
  • Toilets – what a horror show, special mentions must go to the overflowing urinals and piss puddled floor of the bogs next to the theatre space. The crappers Β in the opposite building were claustrophobic enough without having an attendant plying cologne and lollipops by the sink. Thank god I don’t have shy bladder syndrome.
  • The old library – in the past this had housed the record stores but this year it boasted an indoor stage. Unfortunately it proved to be extremely crowded, especially when KK Null and Lash Frenzy did their sets. They kept the fire exit shut so there was only one small exit for entrance and exiting which I’m pretty sure contravened HFS regulations

On the plus side – there’s some great music to be discovered and the catering was good (the Japenese chicken curry went down well with me). Also the record stores had a fantastic range of music and I burnt a hole in my wallet filling in the gaps of my Noise collection.