Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Rita | Voltigeurs | Filthy Turd | Vomir - The Grosvenor, London, 19 November 2010

As I come into the back room of The Grosvenor I’m handed a black bin bag. Vomir has just started. He stands perfectly still with his back to the audience. He’s got a bin bag over his head. An abrasive white noise blasts across the room.

I look about the room. Around a dozen or so people are standing with the bags over their heads. I’m not sure what the inspiration is. Perhaps the idea is to make it a sense deprivation experience. Forcing you to concentrate on what you’re listening to. It makes me think of interrogation techniques where people are hooded and exposed to white noise.

I prefer to go without my hood. I can’t drink my beer otherwise. However, with so many faceless people in the audience there is a peculiar, unsettling, ambience in the room.

Filthy Turd pushes a small, metal table out onto the floor. He lays two microphones on the table before scraping the table across the floor. The vibrations are picked up by the microphones and translated into low howls. Branches and stones are scattered across the table. The clash, clatter and thud are all become part of the sound.

Filthy removes his shoes and then his socks, theatrically smelling each one. He pulls the socks over the microphones, before beginning to beat the tables with them. He then wanders off and shoves some of the branches down the front of his trousers before thrusting his hips forward.

The sound cuts out. Filthy pulls a number of small tape recorders from this pockets smelling them as he does. Each has a different tape loop. They overlay on each other in a random way, but somehow it works. He takes off his shirt and picks up a mutilated guitar adding new layers of noise drone.

Filthy then returns to the table, under which is a small plastic tub. He removes the lid and pushes his hands into the thick brown fluid inside. With hands cupped full he smears the brown fluid over his face and chest. I finally come to understand why he’s called Filthy Turd.

A headily pungent incense fills the room and the lights are turned off. Voltigeurs are one of Matthew Bower’s gazillion different recording identities. This one is a duo with Samantha Davies who’s otherwise employed in Skullflower.

Voltigeurs unleash a guitar noise Gotterdammerung of psychedelic guitar noise. Once you’re over the volume you can tune into the subtleties of their sound. The playing is seriously intense.

They abort their set after 20 minutes. It’s like being suddenly woken up from a deep sleep. Unpleasant, dislocating, and with the same sense of frustration that something really enjoyable has been violently wrenched away from you.

The Rita are headlining. One man and some gear. I go to enough of these gigs. I really should know more about they’re using.

I will profess ignorance of The Rita. A confession which should disqualify me from writing for such an august website as this. The sandblasting wall of noise is all consuming. It’s like being a tiny microbe and suddenly finding yourself flying up the suction pipe of a vacuum.

People start moshing at the front of the audience. He finishes his set. The crowd demand an encore. I’ve never been to a noise gig before where that’s happened. Someone shouts, “Rip my face off.” The Rita does his best.
Preferred drink: Youngs Special

1 comment:

Desmond Wolfe said...

Dude, the Rita's a Canuck from Vancouver (ie hometown of Tunnel Canary), he's a pretty meticulous type, I've never seen two shows of him that were alike. He did one using a tank of water and underwater microphones, it was something to behold. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G56Vk8_xB1w
He definitely gets points for effort.

Just found yer blog, keep 'em coming.