Monday, 16 April 2012

This Will Destroy You / Moho 4.4.2012

I'd never so much as set foot in Moho Live before, let alone witnessed a rock conert there. I'd have gone to see the Slits when they played there but that clashed with my trip to Spain to see three Wire gigs. Moho is in a basement below arty farty boho market Afflecks Palace. The stage is too low and the bar stocks only horrible overcarbonated Strongbow and the moderately less repulsive Bulmers so I didn't bother drinking as I can only drink fruit based drinks and didn't feel like risking the wine. On the plus side the sound was good in most locations throughout the venue, even behind the staircase that almost completely blocks the view of the stage from the back half of the room! Detracting from the sound itself were numerous drunken fools who did not have enough respect for the music and those who came to listen to it to stop shouting and interrupting all the quieter momentum build ups with their inane banter. Towards the back of the room I wasn't going to complain if people talked, but after shifting position from stage right to stage left via the seating towards the back of the room and everywhere finding the music interrupted by tedious gabble, I finally lost it with one loudmouth near the front and shouted, "Shut the fuck up!" at her which did the trick and the rest of the gig was a little more enjoyable as a result.

Support band The Elijah didn't suffer from conversation overkill as ther music didn't have such drastic loud / quiet dynamics. I enjoyed their emo/metal hybrid tunes played against a film of daisies and oceans, but much prefered the lank haired evil hobgoblin vomit vocalist to the high pitched emo guitarist's singing. This Will Destroy You have no singer at all so maybe they needed an opening band with two singers to compensate! They were fairly static on stage, from the glimpses I caught, and one guitarist sat down the whole time. The view was obscured by bodies as the stage is way too low, so I spent the first half of the gig trying to work out how many guitarists and drummers were playing: one drummer, two guitarists and a baseball capped bassist. The bassist bobbed about a a bit and they had some nasty strobe lighting but really the visual side of their performance was not important, thus the low stage was not too much a detriment to the epic soundscapes they sculpted. I have no idea exactly which songs they played but I think they played the best part of their recent third album "Tunnel Blanket" if not the whole damn thing. They left an ambient drone humming when they left the stage for the first time walking through the crowd and shaking hands with the listeners, then returned one by one to lift the hum to a couple more elegant noise peaks. If you want comparisons I could throw out Godspeed You Black Emperor (whose first Manchester gig I helped put on), Explosions in the Sky (whose first Manchester gig I also co-promoted), Labradford (whose second Manchester gig I co-promoted) and most obviously perhaps, Mogwai (who I have seen many times). If This Will Destroy You keep running they will very likely be playing much bigger venues in future.

It was an odd Manchester gig in that I saw no one I knew there, and as far as I could tell no one who went to the recent Helmet, NASDAQ and Killing Joke gigs in Manchester also went to this one, except me. I'd have thought This Will Destroy You would have appealed to a lot of people ho like NASDAQ at least but maybe they were all skint!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pelican Rock

Not content with swallowing pigeons on youtube, Pelican came back to Manchester to rock Ruby Lounge last night with some heavy riffing worth going deaf for. Support bands the Blacklisters, a Leeds in Skin Graft / Shellac vein, and a much more Pelican-like riff rock majestic monolith opening from Bleaklow who I think are from Sheffield. I also managed to catch the best part of an enjoyable set from the Roller Trio at Matt and Phred's jazz club round the corner afterwards.

If you are lucky enough to be going to Roadburn in Tilburg this weekend, after you've had a blast of Killing Joke and Michael Gira later today whilst I get ambient with Little Red Rabbit in Salford Holy Trinity, make sure you catch Pelican and Manchester's excellent psycheout mutants Gnod who played the longest set I've seen them do yet at a free bonfire party at Islington Mill a few days ago.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Gig Acceleration

Too much real life to finish writing about much of it with gigs from

Helmet & Fighting With Wire
This Will Destroy You & The Elijah
DBH with the blues
Dracula Lewis, No Womb & some other noisemakers
Volcano the Bear with Kelly's as yet unnamed evil ambient trio & Dave Birchall's chaos

I have written a review of This Will Destroy You
but as yet do not have enough time to type it up!

There seem to be at least three good gigs happening in Manchester on the eleventh, the day Killing Joke start their European tour in Amsterdam, unless we get hit by an asteroid first of course!


The Birds and Animals do not count money or time
We should KILL TIME
Shut it down

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Manchester Depthcharge

On the tenth day of March MMXII I descended from Tea's highrise flat and made my way past Sheffield Corporation to Rare and Racy Records where I bought three compact discs:

Daniel Menche "Flaming Tongues"

Lee Ranaldo, Glen Hall & William Hooker "Oasis of Whispers"

Philip Jeck "An Ark for the Listener"

I dined at the excellent Blue Moon vegetarian cafe in the shadow of the cathedral then listened to "Laugh? I Nearly Bought One!" on my headphones whilst taking the most scenic trip of the tour thus far, across Snake Pass to Manchester. The sun went down to "Sun Goes Down."

Bus times were slow enough to make me miss the Crying Spell for the second night running, but I quickly recommended the Icarus Line as 'worth a listen if you like the Stooges' to my old friend John who I found lurking near the stage. The singer struts about bare chested with a suit jacket on which prompted a naughty Lancashire heckler to demand he got his trousers off too! He did not comply as he doesn't understand our olde englische accents.

After more Stooges homage I ran into Dingo the tall mohican Fire Dances veteran at the bar and amused him by singing a bit of "Butcher" as I charged into the throng. He used to sign off his emails with a lyric from "Tension" : 'Let Nothing Be Fantasy.' Lo and behold, Killing Joke played an extraordinary rendition of that very song for just one night only in his home town! Most of this gig seems to have been recorded in camera and is up on youtube but you don't get the real atmosfear from that, just a diminished seventh...

Time sped on and familar faces appeared and vanished back into the Gathering... soon the familar pumping disco beat of "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer was blasting from the PA heralding an imminent arrival, and my friend Jenny appeared in the usual location of prime excellence (close in front of Geordie's amp) so I proceeded to babble to her about the adventures on the road so far. Before we knew it we found ourselves slap bang in the middle of a "European Super State" speeding away from Kali Yuga as the "Sun Goes Down," twisting and turning in "Rapture" as "Unspeakable" demons were vanquished from our Matrix. Our dancing was wildest for "Bloodpsort" and "Depthcharge" which undoubtedly reached their zenith. I looked at Youth as he shouted his heart out and thought he was going to fucking explode!

Well that's only about half of it.
I am out of NET TIME so must complete this

Ixchel In Cythera

I've seen you in Madrid
In a rainbow far away from here

I'm grateful

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sheffield Sun Goes Down

I missed my Express National connection and had to fork out another twenty quid for a megabus coach to reach Sheffield with Enough Time! However, I had a good feeling about the deal and it did indeed pay off well. Halfway through my journey north I snagged the best seat at the front on the top deck and took in the sloping industrial approach to the city blasting "Absolute Dissent" as loud as possible. "The Great Cull" caught the attention of another Gatherer who sat across the aisle from me and when we'd arrived In Excelsis we spoke about the Londod gig and many other things. This was a longtime Gatherer called Tea who works as an asbestos stripper and had been wardancing since1980. He invited me to stay at his flat which was only a five minute walk from the venue, Corporation. On the wall of his kitchen was a photo of two Absent Friends, Dean and Glenroy who'd also been to early Killing Joke gigs. Dean died choking on vomit in a police cell and Glenroy died of sickle cell anaemia after a misdiagnosis.

We made our way out of the highrise across the dual carriageway to the Corporation only to find the gig sold out! As neither of us had bought advance tickets, this became a minor obstacle to eliminate as we made our way to the Fire Dances. A nearby pub was packed with Gatherers and I quickly did a recce telling my tale to several friendly drinkers. Eventually a tall fellow in a Dwarves T-shirt whose name I have now sadly forgotten had a spare ticket and sold it to me for the same amount he's paid for it. I contuinued to try to find a ticket for Tea with no luck and eventually left to see the Icarus Line, after getting to get to know a veritable army of Sheffield Gatherers! Time was marching on, tick, tick Chop, Chop! I wanted to get a bit more Iggy worship from "The Cocaine Kid" and his dirty stooges so left Tea outside and he eventually got a ticket just five minutes before Killing Joke took over the "European Super State."

The gig was jam packed towards the middle bit quite movable down the front due to many late arrivals and a narrow shape. The strobe lights were a bit wild and from "SUN GOES DOWN" I knew what this was for: to be forever in this moment! A rabid version of the tribal twilight anthem led into wild "Rapture" surely the most uplifting piece of music ever composed! If this is your new age, I say OK to CHANGE! I ran into old friend Lisa Gannon at the bar but had to rush off into the awesome onslaught of the "Poleshift" and inevitably also encountered Jon Chapman in a trip barwards. There was sadly no encore, as Jaz was reported to be to sick to even stand up let alone bellow a requiem after such a fierce and energetic show. Some Gatherers took their childish frustartions at the situation out by hurling empty plastic cups at the heads of girls leaning on the stage. I told all who would listen to calm down as they'd just had a great gig and for all they know someone in the band might just have died!

Out on the streets it was strange to see the show: lots of young 'uns queuing to get into Corporation as the Gathering departed, so they could make a disco mating money mountain. I made Tea laugh by singing "The Hum" to the bemused children as we marched to a pub with his good friend Jimmy, where another inevitably inferior band were strutting their stuff.

The next day Tea had a nice surprise for me. He dug out an old Killing Joke bootleg tape he'd recorded at their Sheffield Top Rank gig in 1985. Not only was it the best quality audience recording of Killing Joke I'd ever heard, he'd recorded all the intro music and the soundcheck too! The soundcheck was particularly interesting, consisting of more repetitive riffing instrumental versions of SUN GOES DOWN, Requiem and Kings and Queens. He told me he'd never copied this excellent old tape for anyone else as he didn't want bootleggers making money off it. I thought it would make a fantastic official bootleg release and mentioned this to Jon Chapman later in Newcastle. Tea was planning to digitise the tape, so hopefully something can be sorted out in the future.

Lonelady Interview

Check out the latest edition of online zine Perfect Sound Forever if you would like to read an interview I did a while ago with Lonelady: