Another day, another trip to Manchester, almost an advent calendar of aural carnage to get through. Had only seen Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) for the first time here in town in the summer when they were on the way to stir up the mud of Glastonbury, but the punk/hiphop/electronic insanity was pretty stunning and well worth riding this cutting edge for once more. They had actually been here supporting Papa Roach last month but more about that later….
First time at the Deaf Institute for me I think, and what a cool venue. Nice and ornate/classy, we met up with folks for a drink on the middle floor before heading up to the venue hall, which filled pretty rapidly for the openers. In the sense of eye-openers. Kate Mo$$ (pronounced Kate Mo Dollars) were a four piece but not all were contributing to the sonic output. Front man Gnarley haranguing us while triggering raw electronic beats and distorted vibes, telling us tales of his twisted degenerate life, while a live drummer added some more beats to the mix.
Then you had a live sex show from Scuzz in her wedding dress, grainy 80’s VHS porn on back projection, and the legend that is Purple Tony giving us “gang shit” from the side of the stage, whilst not actually meriting a mike himself. Brought over as the main band’s guests you could see the connection and derivative but in a whole more unformed and ropy fashion, and the “sex sells” aspect just took me back to seeing sub-Gwar band Haunted Garage in Wrexham back in the day. Not for everyone, but not hard to forget either.
Much more comfortable with the chaos of the main event. Starkly blue-lit, smokey stage, Ho99o9 – the two main men and their drummer take up position and let the electronics build. Their rap is steady to start but then the beats kick in and the sampled thrashing punk guitars of “Street Power” and things (people, beer, etc.) start flying. The energy is electric, the performance is athletic. One of the two is dressed for flying leaps, including into the crowd, the other is initially buried under some cyber fashion monster, before stripping down to ice-white stylish outfit, just the thing for the dancehall.
They bring a bit of theatre to the performance with pitch-dark stage and head light, there’s the hypnotically languid “Money Machine”, but the majority is charging, schizoid, bouncing punchiness. The punk/hip-hop/electronics pot may have been mixed before by the likes of The Prodigy but this is taking it to a new rawer level, it does feel on the edge of anarchy. Maybe that’s why they apparently didn’t go down to well with their last visit here supporting the conservative rock mainstream (“Sometimes you make a bad decision”), but the fact they ended up punching a detractor/nazi at one of the shows kind of demonstrates their heart and intent. Their last release “United States of Horror” largely showcased here has elements of nihilism as well as anarchy, but all in all it has power within the experimentalism. They close the show with a Bad Brains cover which is probably the ultimate nod to their influence being dragged up to date in the future turmoil we live in now. Here’s to more of these interesting times…