Friday, July 29, 2011

Shit & Shine - Madame JoJo's, London 26 July 2011

I always expect a confrontational performance from Shit & Shine. My previous sightings of had seen them in percussion orchestra mode, albeit one you’d more likely find in a steel factory than a concert hall.

Tonight the line up features only two drummers. There’s three on effects, pedals, and gadgets. And someone wearing a black hood doing something I can’t see.

They start the set quiet. Funereal rhythms from the two drummers whose synchronised drumming is performed with ritualistically large motions. There’s haunted house door creak and methodical thud slow mo menace like a John Carpenter score.

The set builds. Sounds are added. There’s modem screech dysfunction. Someone repeatedly slams a car door. On and on the thud continues, relentless, unceasing. Until there is just the absolute darkness of the monotheistic pursuit of noise.

Preferred drink: San Miguel

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raw Power Festival - Corsica Studios, 10 July 2011

I wasn’t looking forward to the Raw Power festival. Eleven hours of noisy bands in the concrete prison of Corsica Studios seemed like it would be a test of stamina.

Yes, I could have turned up halfway through, but I’m an all or nothing kind of person. So with heavy heart I found myself amongst the first people filing into the venue.

Opening the festival were The Cult of Dom Keller. And I was immediately glad of my decision to tough out the festival. The Cult cooked up a heady, thudding, woozy, 60s psych rock, reminding me a bit of Methadrone era Brian Jonestown Massacre. The acrid smell of the dry pumped into the venue only heightened the experience.

Domestic Blitz followed playing a routine kind of punk rock that I never particularly liked. The cover of George Harrison’s Got My Mind Set On You was a slightly surreal moment.

The special, semi-secret, guests for the festival were Clinic. One of those bands I’ve always known of but without ever hearing. I can’t say their seemingly bog standard indie rock converted me.

I decide to bail on Clinic and have a look at The Light Shines who have got the bum slot of the day by playing on the other stage opposite the special guests. Unfortunately they’re another band who owe a debt to the Brian Jonestown Massacre, however, they’re rather uninspired. They’re not bad, they’re just not good.

I held out quiet hopes for Snapped Ankles based solely on their name. They played a kind of punk funk with spacey electronic noises whilst dressed in bear suits. Something they probably regretted in the warm, unventilated confines of the venue.

As they’re not doing a lot for me I head next door to have a look at Race Horses. Something about Race Horses reminds me of a band I might have seen on Top of the Pops in 1985. The singer wears stone washed jeans which make me start thinking of Limahl.

I recharge physically and psychically by buying a burger and a Dom Keller EP. Next up are Hold Kiss Kill who rescue the festival from a half way slump. At first I worry that their set is going to be ruined by a murky sound, as the guitar and vocals are barely audible. Either someone adjusts the mix or I tune in as I really start to enjoy their set, even if they are massive My Bloody Valentine copyists.

It’s back to the main stage for The Koolaid Electric Company who I‘ve never come across before. Within a few minutes of their first song I realise they’re yet another Brian Jonestown Massacre sound-a-like. Was there a job lot going when they booked this festival? But hey, sometimes originality is overrated. And the Koolaid crew lay down some good hazey, spacey, psych-rock.

Prog revivalists Teeth of the Sea are next, blasting off into the deepest reaches of space rock.

Bo Ningen are a band I’ve always had a problem with. They’re hi-energy rock in Stooges, Acid Mothers Temple kind of way, but they always leave me feeling they should be better than they actually are. I’ve seen them four or five times, and they have their moments, but for me they never achieve lift off.

And then we come to Part Chimp who are currently on a valedictory lap of honour as they move towards their final disbandment. I am not sure that I’ve really got anything left to say about these guys. If you like noise, if you like rock, then you will like Part Chimp. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen them live and they are always, always, excellent.

Trans Am are due on in a little while. But the best part of half a day in the Corsica has taken a psychic toll on me. I can take no more of it’s barren, stark, concrete walls. The power of the rawness has beaten me. I leave.

Preferred drink: San Miguel