- 14 February 2014
to see cymbals customised with a hacksaw"
Howls and Econo
struck me as being quite similar to each other and both could be
roughly described as what the kids are calling ‘noisecore’, so I’ll
deal with them both at the same time.
Both bands were
impressively tight and could play really well, with songs that swerved
from riff to riff and time-signature to time-signature in the style of At the Drive In.
Econo especially had a rhythm section which featured an almost jazzy
interplay between the drums and bass, although both drummers were
impressive. But (and it’s a big but) neither of the bands seemed to
understand that songs are meant to grab you in the gut, not the brain.
Without something to pull you in on an emotional level, all that
technical ability is essentially just showing off, and as such is no
better than a 20 minute prog-rock keyboard solo.
suffered from a pronounced lack of dynamics, pretty much going from
‘Loud’ to ‘Loud’ and missing out ‘Quiet’ altogether, as well as what I
call ‘Jack Nicholson Syndrome’ – it’s all very well always having
everything dialled up to 10, but it means that you don’t leave yourself
any room to manoeuvre, or build up any tension/release. A drop-out
every so often would have made a hell of a difference. To be fair,
neither band were bad as such, and both had elements that I really
liked; Econo’s lyrics (when I could catch them) were really good, and
when Howls stepped back and slowed the tempo down, as they did in the
last song, they had a doomy, menacing presence, but these were all too
brief flashes of interest in otherwise uninvolving sets. 5/10
brings us to the mighty Lamo. Consisting of just drums plus
vocals/guitar, I suppose there was a theoretical possibility of them
being somewhat overshadowed by the barrage of the previous two (full)
bands. I’m glad to say it was a theoretical possibility that did not
come to pass. With a much looser approach, and actual proper singing (I
know! Singing!), they were a much needed relief.
still noise, courtesy of a howling, fucked up guitar sound and
impressively muscular drumming (it’s always nice to see cymbals
customised with a hacksaw, and anyone playing with reversed sticks is a
good sign), but as with all the best ‘noise’ bands, each song has a
tune at its heart with the distortion and feedback merely the icing on
the cake. It’s hard to talk about the set-up Lamo use without
mentioning a certain very famous two piece known for their stupid
trousers and being Blues bores of the highest order, but there really
is no comparison. Rather than taking their cues from purist figures
like Leadbelly or Robert Johnson, Lamo are closer to the swamp-blues
era Birthday Party (this is a good thing) cross-fertilised with a
healthy dose of Silverfish (this is also a good thing).
favourites like Gerrajob and Edicotatop belted out in short order, it
was a slightly truncated set, and they weren’t quite as focussed as
I’ve seen them before, but they well received by the crowd. I’d like to
see them play at a bigger venue with a proper stage and a better PA, as
the facilities at the Bird’s Nest are pretty basic, but if they
continue to perform to this level, that shouldn’t be too long in