20 January 2014

Barbarians, Cementimental, The DDN, Legion of Swine, 2 Koi Karp – Live at the Castle Hotel, Manchester 18th Jan 2014

The people who bring you the splendid Dancing and Laughing nights in Manchester  have pushed the boat out and arranged  a night like no other, “Standing and Listening”! From the flyer it sounded frankly terrifying. My kind of thing. So, boldly I journeyed to the Castle Hotel on Oldham Street in Manchester, forced myself through the crowded bar, grabbing a pint of Trooper Ale on the way, and shoehorned myself into the dark and rather warm back room. Then the chaos started…

koiFirst up were  2 Koi Karp. This two piece features  Neil VG (member of Gnod and recent addition to Terminal Cheesecake) and Louise Woodcock (Poppycock – Una Baines project, ex-Womb).  Set to a backdrop of visuals provided by a certain Jamie Robinson Khom (who worked the backdrop eye candy all night by the way), the ears were massaged and assaulted in equal measure by a balaclava   swine  and shiny garmented pair with a mix of bass guitar, spoken word and harsh electronics all fed through washes of heavy delay. Varied and interesting. Legion of Swine from Leeds were up next, a one man show kicking off with a nasally analogue sounding drone that had the potential to annoy but quickly grew and mutated into a relentless wall of sound. This is the creation of one Dave Procter, a Music Technology and Production Lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, the students should fear for their eardrums based on this display!  The shifting drones ddnevolved and accumulated impressively over the course of the set and I found myself wanting more when the aural assault fragmented and died out. Watch out for the new noise/drone LP “War War, not Jaw Jaw” some time in 2014. Then things got rather strange. It’s  The DDN, that’s what. “Some guy from Glasgow who wanted to make a racket, not a packet.” Well, this guy happens to be a hugely engaging, entertaining and unhinged man shaped gesticulating entity. Decked out in sexy shorts and a top displaying symbols from each of earth’s corners, he accompanied a skittish, ever changing audio backdrop spitting from his heavily stickered laptop, with yelps, screams and ramblings. He assaulted a stuffed panda with the microphone, zapped the audience with a laser gun, mopped up beer and sweat from the floor with his writhing and climbed the walls in a seemingly romantic way, oh and he had acem cup of tea too. A unique experience that I look forward to having again, though I’m guessing no two shows will be the same. London’s Cementimental were left the unenviable task of engaging the crowd after The DDN. So, rather than engaging them, this one man show set about bashing the audience senseless with a barrage of circuit bent and glitch power noise generated by lots of knob messing (oo er) with a table top of boxes and mysterious devices. Intense. So on to the headliners, Barbarians. I’ve heard much about this motley crew and have eagerly awaited the chance to experience them work their craft. The craft? Well it involves violence directed against found lumps of scrap metal, a shopping trolley full of noise manipulation trickery, lots of bashing, scraping and whalloping, all tuned up to 11 while the venue floor groans under the assault. This sort of display must be seen to be understood, but stand a little way back. I can only sum up the experience in one statement really; I want to join Barbarians…….








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