(review n pix mwj)
Something, somewhat different, someone, somewhere deafened. Spoilt for choice on this night but resist the temptations of the top notch death metal of Exhumed round the corner at NQ Live and elect to check out some industrial insanity at the Roadhouse with the first UK visit of California-based one-man sonic terminator, Author and Punisher. It was another industrial night I was last here in the cosy basement of the Roadhouse, a few years back for Concrete Lung, but I still found it quite flashbacky as had visited more often in the early 90’s when it seemed to be a more regularly used venue. Tonight I had the overall impression that it was going to be something unusual if not unique for my ever so slightly jaded/spoilt palate to savour.
Certainly started that way, with Birmingham’s Ore (above). Tuba doom. It was only the previous weekend I’d witnessed the traditional inclusion of the instrument in a marching band at the Victorian Extravaganza in Llandudno and wondered what they might have made of this there. It certainly required patience, as the two tubas sat facing each other droned out reverberating notes, flanking a very minimalist percussionist in the middle. To be honest I wondered if they’d be better with out amplification as the system seemed to struggle with the total bottom end vibes. Occasionally they kind of entered the territory of some of Neurosis’s orchestral dirge tunes, maybe even a riff, but it went on far too long for me and became more of a chore.
Last time I’d seen/heard the Gnod (main pic) experience I’d been lying on the comfortably carpeted balcony of the Het Patronaat converted church venue at Roadburn in Holland. More aggressive relentless vibes then had driven me on through the maelstrom of sonic experience over there, but here back on their local turf they had lined up something different. 4 of them in a row manipulating mixers and electronics, with a freaked out front man delivering stream of consciousness style, it was a far more dance/dub version of their psychedelia. At first I thought it was going to be very tinny compared to what had gone before but this was a mere lull until some phenomenal bass reverberations kicked in, a harsh hypnotic pleasure. Fair play to them for having such a free form set up to be able to create these mixes of ingredients and tangents to their sound.
Finally, our man from the States (above). Apparently he works in nano-tachnology during the day and in the brief association with him here seems a nice laid back guy, here with his wife manning the merch. He must have some demons though, as his musical release is colossally brutal. The set up is relatively simple, especially as he has presumably had to ship everything over, so it’s just a laptop and a table full of home made devices that via rhythmic punching or sweeping flourishes and grinds produce an awesome distorted industrial beating. Particularly spectacular is the construction he pumps like some Cyberdyne mini-gun, punctuating the airshaking and tearing electronic vibes with insistent blasts. He does have some hiccups with the technology that break the flow a little but during the rest of the onslaught at times there’s flashes of Atari Teenage Riot, Ministry and some of the recent JK Flesh offshoot of Godflesh (when I speak to him after he acknowledges the influence of their early stuff). Ultimately it’s his own immense creation of future technology though, and spells a wonderfully harsh drone doom for us all. Hail the rise of the machines!