Dethscalator & Mainliner

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So, erm yeah. I said I’d write about this as well and here we go then – Mainliner stumbled onto my, and possibly your, radar earlier on this year having sort of reformed to make another record after 12 years away. Although they’d no doubt been keeping plenty busy with Kawabata Makoto’s main band Acid Mother’s Temple. I dread to think how many records Acid Mother’s have put out in 12 years, has to be more than sixty I’d guess, the relentless output is one of the things that always put me off them, it speaks to a lack of quality control or something. “Hey guys, wanna make a record this afternoon?” Anyway Mainliner is Makoto’s ‘Solid free psychedelic attack group’ and is basically a full on noise assault from the get go, no building crescendos, no quiet bits just, well, solid free psychedelic attack and no hippy dippy cosmic nonsense neither. This sort of thing either works for you or it doesn’t, and to an extent there’s an element of the high wire act about it where it could go very badly wrong just as easily as it could astonish. Mystic Mary from Bo Ningen is in this new version of the band on bass, vocals, and crazy hand jiving and seems both delighted to be there and right at home, although the vocals are pretty much beside the point, certainly in the live context. We’re basically watching Makoto play some very loud, hard psychedelic guitar with able backing. On which point, Shimura Koji is about the coolest drummer you could ever wish to see, he looks like he’s making tea and sandwiches back there, at his ease, he barely seems to lift his elbows from his side but he plays as hard as anything. On most of what they play tonight they get the ‘song’ out the way and nod to each other and let Makoto off the lead to widdle away. I never thought I’d get tired of hearing someone play the wah-wah pedal but he pushes me close by the end of things, all up in the high end making my ears sing for days. On the upside his playing is neither formless noise nor does it fall into the snakepit of endless guitar hero cock-rock cliche and histrionics. So you know, fair play old man. They walk their tightrope in a dignified and capable fashion and while I don’t leave in disgust, I don’t walk out at the end astonished either. Here’s the new album on bandcamp, it has greater breadth and dynamics than they do live…

Anyway, what really got me along to this gig was support from the magnificent Dethscalator, a highlight of Supernormal for me and makers of one of the year’s best albums so far. They don’t disappoint. Loud and fierce and just, well, joyous in their own strange way. It seems possible they are having some kind of in-band moustache competition, which the bass player is refusing to countenance while the drummer is clearly winning. Perhaps the other two are experimenting with levels of unshaven. Who can say? Maybe this odd thought occurs to me because the visual clues from Dethscalator are limited. Not that I’m accusing them of putting a lot, or possibly any, work into it they’re just one of those bands where everyone looks like they’re in a different band to the others. Singer Dan performs in the kind of comfortable baby blue sweater Alan Partridge would be happy to sport. With a nice shirt underneath it too. This is all to the good in my book, as part of what makes them so great is the off-kilter mysteriousness in the music. If they just looked like a bunch of metal heads it would lose something I think.  Anyway, the music, watching them tonight it’s apparent to me just how well structured and arranged the songs are, and how unique their way of doing things is. Something I’d previously missed amid all the fun of the noise and the simple fact they sounded different to your generic shouty noisy bunch of monkeys. What Dan is on about I’ve no idea, and their amusing titles offer little by way of  clues, but I’m guessing there’s thing he wants to get off his chest. Luckily for us, he, and they, do this brilliantly. I’ve listened to the album ‘Racial Golf Course, No Bitches’ a good deal more since the gig and I can’t wait for the next one, which hopefully won’t take as long.

both Dethscalator and Mainliner’s albums are out on the wonderful Riot Season records, who promoted the gig and from whom you can download a free sampler of great stuff by going over here you can even get along, if yr quick, to a bit of a year end round-up and sale on some of their wares.

555908_10151728857369426_919033589_nthis great pic from Dethscalator’s Supernormal set is by Julie R.Kane check out www.fstopqueen.com for more of her great shots from Supernormal and beyond…

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