Crud World Domination Enterprises give you

DJ Shitmat
DJ Scotch Egg
The Bug

Supersonic Festival @ The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham



(review n pix by MWJ)


This is an annual celebration over a Friday night and an all Saturday of, in the words of heroic organisers, “a terrifying portfolio of artists to exacerbate those irritating ear problems”.  I am some sort of sensible lightweight evidently as don’t have the time or resistance to sensory overload to cope with the Saturday and the likes of High on Fire, Isis (seen them both before) plus Michael Gira (Swans), Broadcast, Final (Justin Broadrick) and many more. Elect instead to enjoy something slightly more diverse than my “normal” genre live entertainment on the more electronic/dance/noise orientated Friday night.


Previous visit to the Custard Factory for a Jesu gig meant already appreciated the unconventional and all the more interesting set up of the venues in the spaces of the converted industrial areas, still quite blown away by a 20 foot “green man” sheltering under a building outcrop. Join the steady stream of people working there way in for the civilised 9pm start (3am finish!).



Howls of guitar noise signal Mistress revving up in main space of the Medicine Bar.  The third time I’ve seen them now, (like the proverbial bad penny), they work hard in spreading their filth around but also have garnered a respected standing in the underground for what they deliver.  So in their home town this is a fitting way off kicking things off.  They play their entire new album as a set, giving a taste of the range of metals it encompasses, from out-and-out grindcore to almost “traditional”.  The strongest part for me tonight though is the merciless D-beat chug-athons, controlled brutality at it’s finest.  Singer Dave C*nt is quite self-depreciating about their performance or appeal to the eclectic crowd here tonight but personally it’s the best I’ve seen them.  Proper doss I believe is the technical term.


There are excellent projection shows that accompany all tonight’s acts, and the next day will indeed feature separate film shows and art installations, all round entertainment, as well as underground label and culture stands.  For now, able to wander onto balconies from some relief from the sweatbox venue spaces on this sultry evening, watching folks milling below. The central water feature has been drained to provide the main open stage space for tomorrow’s acts. Over the other side there’s the Kitchen, a room for dj’s for tonight, catch a glimpse of the Wrong Music Crew, chaotic abuse of TV theme tunes, before going to check out PCM. 



Two guys manipulating sounds from the back of the stage, not really visible what this entailed but what came out was super-heavy industrial strength drum and bass.  Fantastically thumping beats and grinding vibes, more rave than gig now but inventiveness maintained by fellow Brummie guest vocalist Karl from Bolt Thrower joining them, seemingly to just adlib selected/recycled lyrics from his band.  Death Metal MCing, the way ahead!  It definitely added a level to what could stray into repetitiveness without him but still would have sent 9 out of 10 happy hardcore scallies running for cover, a good thing.



Another brief interlude in the Kitchen for MDMA (moronic dance music association), featuring blacked-up SS uniformed performers and a reworking of 2 Unlimited’s classic “no-no”.  Then behind a veritable banquet table of electronic mixing malarkey we have The Bug, which is Bill Bailey look alike Kevin Martin.  He’s produced some fantastic collaborations (Curse of the Golden Vampire, Techno Animal) with Godflesh/Jesu’s Justin Broadrick and this is another example of envelope pushing electronica.  It starts off almost a bit dj-like with familiar hip-hop tunes being mixed and messed before evolving into a more live experience.  There’s a core of dub and jungle, and from my position 3 feet high and falling from the PA the compressed and cranked bass beat bombs are just jaw/bowel dropping (and echo in my head for days after), but the knob twiddling is relentless and the tunes are constantly changing, evolving, enthralling.  The addition of ragga MC’s Razz and Warrior Queen provides great entertainment, onstage and off, and they receive a great response from the packed crowd.  



What’s left now is dj-ing and chilling out amidst the madness.  Now while it’s not necessarily my chosen genre of entertainment a combination of wine/lager/cider/Guinness/vodka/JD over the evening plus the fact these are not necessarily your standard dj’s means the enjoyment is sustained and the rest of the night flys by.  Dj Scotch Egg provides some fearsome digital hardcore, almost gabba beats or the same kind of punishing electronic noise as recently experienced with Wolf Eyes, a Japanese guy providing some Mc-ing, a random dancer who’d told us about 3 times about a free party next week (short term memory loss, never) also joining them.  It’s pretty busy, with folks even watching through the windows along the side of the venue, though things have started to thin for the last act Dj Shitmat, maybe just with the hour and people saving themselves for the next day.  I definitely wanted to see this through, Shitmat holding a reasonably special association in my head and heart as his was one of the stand out tracks on the last John Peel show I listened to before he died.  And although that was some time back now he’s obviously stuck to his guns with berserk fast hyper-hardcore of his own twisted creation, throbbing sub-bass, and warped out sounds, plenty off humour thrown in via samples etc, a great ending to the night.



Join the stream of people back to the local hotel, I kind of wish I had the opportunity to stay for the next day as I’m sure it would have been as good but maybe next year, build me stamina.


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