26 March 2017

REVIEW: ADAM PROBERT and JOHN E SMOKE perform THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW with Mutate, Sandy Thomas Stanton and D.N.P – Six Eight Kafe, Birmingham: 24 March 2017

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The Battle For Tomorrow

If you’d visited Birmingham’s Six Eight Kafe on this Friday evening you’d find secreted away in the basement an intimate gathering of characters all eagerly awaiting the performance of spoken word, dark soundscape piece, THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW.

But before the main event we have some support artists. First up is Birmingham’s black ambient drone performer, D.N.P. (Dona Nobis Pacem) (7). He is an unassuming figure in the corner of this basement room; being set up with a assortment of electronic gadgetry from which he produces some hauntingly absorbing noise. The D.N.P. experience is reminiscent of being trapped in a wind tunnel with nothing but your own anxiety for company… in a good way, if you can imagine such a thing!

Next up is Stafford’s lofi singer songwriter SANDY THOMAS STANTON (7). Probably the performance most at home in this coffee shop environment, also sticks out amongst the rest of the line up of darkness and noise. Somehow, however, SANDY’s soulful set still manages to be in keeping with the rest of the evening by delivering songs dripping with a good deal of angst.

Hailing from the Black Country, MUTATE (9) provides a frankly mindblowing performance of guitar soundscapes. I don’t think that when the electric guitar was invented in the 30’s they ever imagined that the instrument could produce such sounds. MUTATE manages to produce a swirling vastness that resonates through the mind of the listener. The effect is one of timelessness – you start to wonder how long you’ve been listening to these noises, perhaps years, it has only been moments.

And so to battle. THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW (9) is an epic collection of spoken word poems performed by ADAM PROBERT over dark drone soundscapes provided by Midlands Metalheads’ very own JOHN E SMOKE. The work deals with issues in the modern world that every right thinking person should be worried about – everything is covered from medicine to mass surveillance.

ADAM delivers a passionate, energetic and engrossing performance; strutting and leaping around the basement as he snarls into the microphone… eventually the microphone completely gives up. ADAM finishes the set mic-less, shouting and hollering his lines. The lack of mic actually improves the performance, increasing the punk rawness and cathartic qualities of show. JOHN E SMOKE is the calm zen master of sound. Sat on the leather sofa surrounded by his arsenal of noise producing gadgets and at his feet his faithful rockstar pooch JJ #GothGuideDog. Some highlights included “Population Control”, “What You Have To Hide” and “Famine”.

I had a most enjoyable evening at the Six Eight Kafe. If you get the chance to see THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW performed live I suggest you take it. It was a good departure from the norm for me; thought provoking and ultimately a lot of fun. Special mention goes out to clown compère extraordinaire The Percy Vermin Experiment.

If you’re liking the sound of all this, please indulge your morbid curiosity and check out THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW on bandcamp: