about last weekend

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Last weekend the Hickeysonic battle bus hit the campaign trail across the glittering flesh pots and bright lights of the t’north, meeting good friends old and new, drinking a considerable but not ruinous amount (what we like to call ‘responsibly’) and attending to some live music too.  Here is a bunch of wittering about it

 

How’s that there for a poster? Not bad at all is it? We love the idea that people are starting to make really interesting and unique posters for events over here – that screenprinted unique art thing that started in the American underground. It still costs too much money really, but now that fly posting can all but get you shot and internet posters are free to reproduce why not? Anyway, we tumble into Islington Mill off the back of some early evening birthday celebrating, five pints in and acutely aware that Hey Colossus are still not on for hours yet. We want to both witness and recall their performance if possible and restraint has never been a strong suit in the Hickeysonic deck let’s be fair. Ten Mouth Electron are on. They are confusing to us. It’s not that they’re bad, more that it’s hard to work out what they’re up to. You know how you often read in interviews how people played in loads of bands before working out what they wanted to do and forming one with like minded souls they met along the way? Ten Mouth Electron feel like one of them earlier versions of something. Should we have a drink? Oh yes. Should I have a massive sneezing fit on the sofa that frightens my fellow patrons? Apparently. Mugstar are next. The problem I’ve always had with Mugstar is the name, it really is a pretty terrible name I think, and does them a massive disservice because they’re a pretty great band. On the other hand, it allows them to consistently exceed my low expectations. They also have a distracting short hair/short guy – long hair/tall guy thing happening that gets pushed crazily over the top tonight by tall guy standing on bass subs without us noticing and looking like he’s going to go through the low ceiling. No really, we are not that drunk. Yet. Of course they’ve been at working at their psych-noise thing for over a decade now and they’ve had time to become pretty expert at it. Their set, like most of their songs, builds gradually in intensity and by the end they’re throwing shapes, pulling crazy faces and raging away gloriously.

Subtleties to the side please ladies and gentlemen for Drunk In Hell are about to take the stage. A sporadic concern over the last six years when they could be arsed they seem to be gaining some momentum this year, a series of live appearances are lined up and the album they’ve promised for a few years may yet arrive. I wouldn’t get your hopes up though, hope has no place in Drunk In Hell’s world. They kick off with their ‘hit’ ‘I’m An Asshole’ and just in case there wasn’t enough hideous squealing feedback running throughout they’ve got a saxophonist tonight to add a bit more squealing. Drunk In Hell are the sound of your utter disgust at your own miserable failings, the most stupidly abject, grinding noise assault. It’s surprisingly enjoyable, if not exactly cleansing. They’ve got the girls in the crowd dancing to them as well, which is unexpected.

Hey Colossus are in the unenviable position of having to follow them and while they’re less crushing, they’re lean and mean by contrast. No formless jumpers, no shapeless riffs. Their intricately constructed cacophony is a joy to behold and I’m pleased to report we’re in fair shape with regards the beholding and recalling. The people are loving it, although the make up of the crowd appears to have shifted somehow, possibly just the lateness of the hour. Again with the dancing girls, now proving ‘Oktave Doktor’ has a lithe groove buried down in the murk. If Drunk In Hell’s brutal force comes from straight ahead remorseless bludgeoning it’s clear Hey Colossus are using contrast and dynamics to maximise the power in the punch when it comes. They work through new album ‘In Black And Gold’ in the same order as the record with some diversions, like Mugstar earlier the set builds in intensity. The new songs are already sounding massive and by the time they get to ‘Eat It’ it’s ferocious. They end on ‘Sinking, Feeling’ though, and it’s an almost quiet after the storm decompression. A full stop I guess. It puts an end to any encore worries.

The following night in Shipley they play drenched in the colours of a bizarre animated film. It’s a remarkably good fit, they should do this all the time, it’s amazing. They are again fantastic, ‘Oktave Doktor’ is dropped from the set, for reasons of time I’m sure rather than to discourage dancing because there’s plenty of enthusiastic dancing going on here too.  Oh my. Smash hit in a better world ‘Hot Grave’ is a massive stomp, the new album’s songs  just sounding better and better all the time but the title track is the best of the night for me. The film turns out to be Fehérlófia a psychedelic rendering of a hungarian folk tale. The rightness of this is just a part of The Golden Cabinet experience – everything about it is great and put together with loving care, we’re excited to be here and it’s truly a great night. Great line ups, great venue, great local beer, cake too which I didn’t get to try and truly gorgeous posters. heykaren copyIt is well worth the trek and you should all get along to one if you can, as soon as you can.

Karen Gwyer knows what I’m talking about, she makes a sweet introduction before starting saying how great it is here, how it’s nice to be on such an eclectic bill for a change and how she hopes we enjoy her set because it’s going to be completely different. She means to Hey Colossus but she plays a totally different set to the last time I saw her and is just as amazing. Geek wise it seems she’s using a new set up, losing the keyboards and going much more beat driven. She doesn’t pull any punches with regard to playing to different crowd either, it’s pretty thumping from the start and builds elegantly towards a totally banging hard techno. All the while the music is shifting and turning, resolving and dissolving. The more familiar warm synth washes come pouring in at the end of the set, the visuals now flying us through space, and are all the more gorgeous for it. The applause when she finishes is thunderous and she seems slightly embarrassed and genuinely moved, which only makes you like her more. There’s even time for a short but pounding encore. The only downside to the whole night is there’s no real chance to stand about and chat afterwards, just about everyone has got to get out of Shipley…

 

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