Posts Tagged ‘gig’

Trial n Error Electronic / Experimental Music Night – Star Inn – Guildford – 10th June 2018

June 24, 2018

WHAT A NIGHT.  Seriously, really, really enjoyed it, start to finish – and the unexpected presence of an old friend from Aldershot didn’t go amiss either.  I suppose I’d better go through the acts in the order they played – please feel free to correct me if my assessment of the way the music was played or what genre it fits into is utter rubbish.

Up first Ple Rexics.  Backs to the audience is often criticised as a performance stance, but to be fair that was the only way any of us would have had a clue what was being done to a bank of modular synths.  Bleepy, experimental… definitely plenty in common with some of the techno and ambient I used to listen to, but this was more experimental, much less dance orientate.  If music was solely about sound Ple Rexics were the best act of the night… as it was it was spell-binding, beautiful, chilled… really looking forward to checking  out more of his stuff online.

https://www.facebook.com/PleRexics/
https://plerexics.bandcamp.com/

Path’s iPad-only set was great… seemed to be more of an easy-listening vibe to a couple of the tracks than I remember and the best track from last time I saw him wasn’t played.  Quality electronica.  Nice.

I loved ian:o‘s set… I’d struggle to place this precisely, but ambient techno might cover some of it even if chilled electronica might be what some would say.  Quite laid back, but emminently danceable.  More modern sounding and more to my taste than I was expecting, to be honest.   Early evening main room, any time in the chill-out room, art gallery, whatever.

https://www.facebook.com/ianoMusicElectronic/

He even re-improvised the set again post-event and stuck it on soundcloud –

James Armstrong’s Slow Clinic project is beatiful and fascinates me.  From what I might have read and / or think I’ve worked out it’s mainly gentle guitar – string and bow vibrating the strings more than fingers or pick pluck or strum – heavily effected with delay and reverb and volume swells, and looped.  It’s all tone and texture, beauty and a certain melancholy.  Really not my thing from a “what kind of music are you looking to add to your life, Wild Eye?” point of view, it’s sheer beauty and hypnotic quality – no that’s the wrong word, it’s more entrancing than hypnotic – sucks me in.

https://www.facebook.com/slowclinic/

I felt a bit sorry for Cyberwaste… I presume that most of the time her visuals work better from a technical point of view… and whilst it’s ALL about the music it’s never all about the musicSomething about it makes me think of the 1980s, but maybe a producer from the 80s given a glimpse into the electronica of the future and left in their own era to try to recreate what is still to come.  If what I am trying to say makes sense to anyone I will be surprised; if it goes a step further and you agree with me then I guess my dropped jaw will crack as it hits the floor.

Up there with Ian:O as the most likely act of the night to have wide appeal, another act with a real sense of melancholy.

https://www.facebook.com/Cyberwastemusic/
https://soundcloud.com/cyberwastemusic

ESP.  I’ll start this last bit of the review by talking about one of my favourite subjects.  Me.  I write this blog for a variety of reasons, but the top 3 are probably (in no particular order) –

(1)  I like thinking about music, understanding it and refining my views on it.  Putting things into words helps that.

(2)  I want to encourage music – especially live and local to me – partly for altruistic reasons, partly for selfish reasons – saves travelling to London to see a good gig.

(3)  I hope that some of what I write can inspire musicians to being better, whether by opening their eyes to music they’ve never come across before, or by encouraging them to see things in different ways, challenging their established mindset.

What I don’t do it for is because I absolutely love writing, find it easy and believe that my writing is of a particularly high standard.  I find it very hard to write about most bands I see, especially – and this is pretty common – when I don’t fully get precisely where they are coming from, really like what they do, but don’t love what they do.

At least 3 or 4 more paragraphs to this part of the review than any of the other acts, and I have said not a word about ESP.  I’d better change that.

ESP make the kind of shit I find it relatively easy to write about.  Why?  Cos I fucking love them!  Their soundcloud page says –

“ESP has made it our mission to bring you Fashion Funk and put a little dance into your lives, having spent 3 years distilling Fashion Funk down to its core elements with influences coming from musical inspirations such as Daft Punk, Yasutaka Nakata, Gorilaz and Touch Sensitive and blending it with aesthetic principles such as Harajuku street fashion and Vapourwave these then combined with our own childhood memories of mid to late 90s and early 00s pop culture lead us down the path to creating what you hear today. Seeking to bring you all a fresh lifestyle filled with fun, dancing and colours its time to stop worrying about everything and get a little crazy.”

My late teens and early 20s were spent listening to techno, trance, tech-house and electro.  I can definitely see that their sound relates back to that.  I love the acid, the mad acid.  I love all sorts, but for me music – and this is times ten for electronic music – is ultimately about moving dat ass.  Hooks, riffs, melodies yes, but most of the best music has a beat that gets the foot tapping at the very least.

ESP know all this… they are all about creating fucked-up party music.  I actually miss-typed that as fucked-up arty music the first time, or was it a miss-type?  I think that they are actually the missing link between high art and music solely to get the asses-wigglin’.

Seriously funky, plenty about the sound owes itself – as they say themselves – the likes of Daft Punk, an act who have managed to be pretty cutting edge whilst also having massive pop appeal.  I have literally no idea just how fucked up they’re trying to be but I can almost see them appealing to a mainstream club audience, whilst having weird, bedroom-dwelling, techno-obsessed freaks digging their shit too.

A guy who Kryds did some guitaring, a girl did a bit of singing, trackies got sweaty, furiously funky fucked-up shit went down.  I literally cannot see how anyone could not love ’em.  FUCKING SUPERB. 

https://www.facebook.com/TheESPsociety/

 

 

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MUX and The Pink Diamond Review at the Holroyd Arms in Guildford, 29th March 2018

April 6, 2018

The Holroyd Arms has been on my radar for most of the time that I’ve been back in Guildford, but it’s only fairly recently that I’ve been.  “Why not sooner?” I hear you ask.  The fact it’s a bit out of the town centre doesn’t help, not least as I hate cabs, and I hate driving and not being able to have a drink.  But mainly it’s the music.  They seem to have a focus on old school punk and mod – neither of which are particularly my thing – as well as a bit of ska, northern soul and covers bands (not my thing either, particularly).

Serious props to the Landlord for the fact that he’s taken over a pub and set up a nice little back room which is decent for live music.  10/10 for that alone.

But now he’s starting to try to open things up I think, to a wider variety of music and broader clientele.  In particular the last (and first) couple of gigs I went to there were put on by students at ACM and the university I think and attracted a pretty good crowd each time.  And here we are, a Thursday night and two bands who were both on my radar, playing together a short cycle from home… bring it on…

Anyway, the night in question.  First on The Pink Diamond Review who were on my radar before I saw the gig announced.

First the visuals.  This is the stage, before the set started. I have nothing against bands who make it all about the music – most bands – but I love the effort and the effect from Tim Lane and co.

Image may contain: one or more people and night

And that’s before the video show starts as well.

Musically it’s a backing track / hardware sequencer – I think – with live drums and guitar over the top.  Love the really retro, tremelo-y guitar sound.  Pretty catchy, think Sigue Sigue Sputnik with less pop and rock, and a psych/lounge/western sound… with a bit of rockabilly / early rock no roll or something.  I could listen to those guitars all night.

I’m not gonna go claim they’re brilliant, but they have a fuck of a lot going for them and I look forward to seeing them again.  Drop the live drummer, make it more techno-y and MUCH heavier, and it’s kinda where my musical endeavours are currently focussed… I’m not saying they should do any of those things, but it kinda gives and idea of how much I love where they’re coming from.

I can see them as the house band in a weird brothel in a David Lynch movie.  If that’s not a compliment I don’t know what is.

Mux are similar in that they are also a two-piece, with a live guitar and electronics.  Sonically, totally different.  Kinda 80s synth pop updated to a more modern dance thing, with added post-punk guitar-based experimentalism.  Or something.

Like Pink Diamond Review I love that they’re doing something different.  Not as unique as Pink Diamond, but really interesting nonetheless and much more 2018 (not sure Pink Diamond are from this dimension, let alone 2018).  Harder to work out what was live and what wasn’t – and that’s something I can find frustrating as an audience member… but from what I could work out a lot of the electronics was played and / or triggered live.

Definitely another band to keep an eye on.

There is something so powerful about a full live band at the top of it’s game, but so good to see a night where the bands did something more unusual, without simply being a dance act failing to work – inevitably – in a gig environment.

Sludgefest – Dead Lettuce, King Goat, Morass of Molasses, Green Lung, Pensevor, Nyogtha at the Facebar in Reading, August 4th 2017

August 30, 2017

Wowzers – just stumbled upon a saved review title with no review in my drafts folder. WTF can I remember?

Not a lot.  To what extent was it a night of sludge?  Not a lot?  Does it matter?  Not a lot.

Morass of Molasses do their sludgey thing and I like, heavy, riffy.  Not 100% my thing but they’re a band I would happily see anytime.  Massive props for promoting as well as playing.

Pensevor – my reason to be there – superb.

Dead Lettuce, King Goat, Green Lung – this is where – if I was awarded stars for my reviews – I would get 0/10.  From memory all the bands were OK but a combination of not massively being in the mood for six bands and the fact that they all lean more in a metal direction than I tend to favour meant I didn’t give them masses of attention.

Nyogtha – if you were to describe this band to me, despite being a fan of drone, I would tell you that they are my idea of gothy warbly hell.  They were, in fact, gothy, droney, warbly heaven.  Proper fucked up shit. This has no right to work.  It works.  Well.

Morass of Molasses –
Sludgey riffs from the guys behind “The Swamp”.
https://www.facebook.com/MorassOfMolasses/

Nyogtha –
Goth drone genius.
https://www.facebook.com/Nyogtha.fhtagn/

Pensevor –
Drone metal kinda works, but not really sure that they are either drone or metal. Top top band.
https://www.facebook.com/Pensevor/

Moper, Dead State, I Plead Irony, Daryl Vorderman at the Star Inn, Guildford Friday 18th August 2017

August 28, 2017

I didn’t get round to reviewing this one before… and I ain’t now, but I’ll say a few words.

I had a real nice vibe going all night, probably down to seeing the Forward 4 Wiz Trust sign and thinking about the guy I did not know who wrote some of the best lyrics I have ever heard.  MC4 were a superb band, but Wiz’s lyrics were the one thing that from my perspective were genuinely great about them.  I do not use that word lightly.  Off the top of my head I cannot think of a better lyricist, anywhere, ever.  Only the good die young indeed you sod.  You have no idea how much I would love to be able to see you up on stage now.

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most beautiful songs out there IMO.  I’m in tears just re-reading those lyrics now.

If you read this blog you know I like boxes.  I love it when a band just headfucks me, throws it all in, noisily, confuses the hell out of me.  Who Saw The Light are the best example recently but the first couple of times I saw the mighty Space Church were similar.  But even when this is happening I’m always trying to pin bands down to a style or genre.

Dead StateI Plead Irony, and Daryl Vorderman are all probably independent, alternative punky rock or something… but they’re the non-weird, more song-based and less experimental end of that… I tend to prefer the weirder noisier end, unless the band in question really does blow me away with magnificent songs… and writing magnificent songs is kinda the really tricky bit in all this (well that and playing guitar, hitting things in time and singing, they’re all damn-near impossible as well).  Enjoyed ’em all, but Daryl Vorderman definitely have something and Dead State definitely have a decent front man.

Moper are a fucking let down.  I say “a fucking let down”, but I kinda meant to say, a fucking let down apart from –

The guitar – the sound, the stripped back simplicity, the beauty, the way there is not a single unnecessary note all night.

Voice – I really love Johnny’s voice, some people might say it’s authentic.  That’s a bullshit expression, but it is deeply convincing.

The way the drums and bass work perfectly to compliment the above.

The songs.

But apart from that, pretty average.  Go check out their records.

Forward 4 Wiz Trust on Facebook

Trial N Error – Star Inn Thursday 3rd August 2017

July 24, 2017

Looks to be a good one.  Slug 13 do their riffy, grungy noise rock thing.  Princess bring more of a Cave / Cash vibe to their noise rock thang.

Noisepicker who I’m really looking forward to seeing, and Lost You To The Cities complete the bill.

Get there!

Trial N Error-Star Inn

Morass of Molasses, Space Church, Grits, Silent Mode, Buffalo Club night at the Star, Guildford, 30th March 2017

April 2, 2017
As their set started I was worried that they were going to be pretty poor… but my concerns were soon found to be totally misplaced.  Band with most commercial potential – Silent Mode.  Is this down to age / look as much as sound?  Maybe, not sure.  The combination of a relatively modern sound and more stoner rock vibes makes for a nice combination.  Vocals really reminded me of Brian Molko… not everyone’s sup of tea but I have a bit of a soft spot for Placebo… and they’ve managed pretty darn tidy career.

Grits are a bit like Silent Mode – definitely a band that could fairly be described as alternative, whilst coming from a place that is probably quite straight-ahead rock too.  At times they remind me of the frantic energy of MBV at their best (for the avoidance of doubt this is very high praise coming from me), whilst not sounding much like them at all.  I’d love to know how that set was meant to sound compared to how it came out… chaos, falling cymbal, collapsing drums, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal, more falling cymbal.  Bit of luck I have a soft spot for amateurism and chaos – the band who I suspect might be the most technically gifted of the four on show really did come across somewhere between unlucky and clowns.  Not the best set of the night, not the best set Grits will ever play… and I don’t 100% get where they’re coming from.  But when they get it right they really get it right.

Space Church.  I swear they sound totally different every time I see them.  My perception was wonderful noisy all over the place weirdness the first time I saw them.  I love the album.  At the Boileroom recently I thought it was the sound that gave me a totally different perspective (no pun intended, still available on 7″).  Much quieter, more professional, more like a band who might actually want to be liked as opposed to really really not giving a flying anything.  They seemed to carry that back to the Star, sort of… maybe it was the venue / sound less at the Boileroom, and more them developing.  No idea.  Most interesting band on show, and one I’m actually finding harder to pin down the more i see them.

Really enjoyed Morass of Molasses – a sludgey stonery bassless heavy quite retro sounding bluesy damn fine thing.  Probably the band I enjoyed most, despite, on paper, perhaps being the one I’d think I’d like least.  Second time I’ve seen them and I think I’m getting them more.  But not enough to write much… I blame lack of shared reference points between MoM and WEM.

I really can’t work out which of the following statements is most true –
(1)  There are a ridiculous number of really good bands around Surrey / Hants right now.
(2)  The Buffalo Club guys can spot a band.
(3)  I love any old shit so long as its live, loud and a bit different.

Trevor’s Head, Slug13, Nanking – The Star Inn, Guildford, 4th September 2016.

September 6, 2016

Band names, eh?  There is a school of music journalism that believes that the first and by far the most important question you should ask a band is “how did you get your name?” or “where does your name come from?”  I only did this to one band I think – Trevor’s Head.  It’s an unusual band name (aren’t they all?) that I first came across quite some time ago… but only half way through their set that it first occurred to me that it must be a reference to the mighty Trevor Brooking and his diving headed winner in the 1980 FA Cup Final.  I was wrong.  Coincidentally it only occurred to me during Slug 13’s set that Slug can mean something other than “slimy little creature”.

Now that the important stuff is out of the way I’d better quickly deal with the music.

Nanking first.  I loved their second track, which sounded to me like what At the Drive-In would sound like if they were a surf band, and there were plenty of other good moments.  It’s rare to see a drummer attack a drumkit with the sheer force and abandon that Nanking’s stickster did; it’s rare to see a band with such a good bass player.  But they do also sound like a band who are happy to chuck any and all influences into the mix and have fun, whereas if they focused the talent into developing their own sound they’d sound a lot more like a band.  But that ain’t happening – one gig to go, The Lounge in Alton at the end of the week – and Nanking are no more.

Slug13 are in many ways the complete opposite… less likely to pick up work as session musicians, but much more likely to come across as a ‘proper band’, a band who’ve found their sound.  I really liked their set, which to me was proper grunge in a Mudhoney kinda way.  Not that they sounded particularly like Mudhoney, just a proper, old-school stoner / grunge thing, and my personal taste and bias tends to lead me to seeing Mudhoney as the start, middle and end of grunge.  Not heard so much wah from one guitar for quite a while (no bad thing).  If I had one criticism it’d be that I’d prefer the guitars a bit more loose and wild and free… but perhaps that would take away as much as it’d give… and maybe it was just the volume in the venue was a touch lower than it could have been during their set.

Finally Trevor’s Head, who kinda make my last point (or rather second last point) for me.  Another proper old-school stoner / grunge band, though perhaps with a few more modern influences than Slug13, and definitely more of an explicit punk influence, a bit less grunge and a fair bit more stoner.   They were looser and wilder (and louder I think) than Slug 13 and fucking good for it, but you can’t have it both ways.  If anything maybe I’d have preferred a bit more of the solid, chugging consistency of Slug13.

Jeez… solid, chugging consistency sounds a bit like a massive insult doesn’t it, but it really isn’t – its integral to the whole sound / band.  And you know what, the easiest thing to do is chuck some other influence or instrument into the mix.  The hardest thing to do is keep it (relatively) simple.  As I get older I find myself more and more interested in technical, proggy, mathy, post-hardcore music of one type or another.  I love the insane complexity thrown at you hard and fast and loud.  But my real love, and certainly my original love, is music that is much more simple.

Sorry Nanking, stay together if you want more words outta me.  Slug13 and Trevor’s Head are two fine grungey stonery bands well worthy of your attention… I think my vote would have to go to the former (1-0 Slug13), but I suspect that’s to do with my age and shared formative influences as much as anything; gut feel is the more orthodox stoner thing Trevor’s Head have got going on is likely to have the wider appeal (1-1).  But I get the casting vote so 2-1 Slug13, Trevor’s Head lose, review over.

Leafy Incline – Sunday 4th September 2016 – The Star, Guildford

August 27, 2016

We’re 8 days from the first Leafy Incline Promotions event.  Leafy Incline is Slug13’s promotion’s arm, and they’re looking to do something a bit heavier than some of the promoters in Guildford whilst not being a metal night.  “An Evening of Guitar Based Noise” is how they put it.  Sounds good to me.

Slug13, Trevor’s Head, King Ghidora and Nanking is the line-up.

Some influences – Mudhoney, DRI, Prong, Swervedriver, Dinosaur Jr, Loop, God Machine, Husker Du.

Buffalo Club – Space Church, Grits, Princess – August 6th 2016

July 17, 2016

Grits and Princess have been added to the line-up… maybe they’ll get one more band to make it four?  Star Inn, Guildford.  Gonna be a very good night!

Facebook event page link

Allusondrugs – Boileroom Guildford 4th August 2016.com

July 14, 2016

I can’t make this one, but it looks like the Boileroom’s bookers are keeping up the standards… the poppy and indie end of grunge, plenty enough to keep things interesting.

http://www.allusondrugs.com