Call me Russ L

Jesu, Kill The Thrill and an imaginative title

Posted in Music by Russ L on 7 January, 2006

Originally posted on 21/4/5.

Bah. That’s all I really feel like saying. Bah. It’s a good thing to say, though.

Last night I went to see Isis, Jesu and Kill The Thrill at The Medicine Bar. There’s some preliminary waffle for this. I’d skip it if I were you.

Firstly, though the air may resound with calls to burn the heretic, I don’t think Isis are the greatest thing since pre-cut bread. I do like them, but for the most part I find their music tends to bubble along prettily enough without any particular impact. To be fair, I should state that I’ve not heard what I gather is their best material.

Secondly, this was a Capsule promoted gig at one of The Custard Factory’s venues. As I’ve moaned about before, this means it’s almost certain to run late.

Combine firstly and secondly and we have the prior knowledge that I was going to miss at least some of Isis’ set, but I wasn’t reeeaaally that bothered. As far as I was concerned, Jesu were the main event of this gig.

Thirdly, I was quite apprehensive about the size of the crowd. Some chap was trying to sell a ticket that he’d erroneously bought, and attempted to encourage people to believe that the gig was sold out. I knew this was nonsense, but it did start me thinking about how busy the gig was going to be. It was, clearly and obviously, going to be very crowded indeed, and I’m not keen on that. Once I start worrying about something I find it difficult to stop, and with this on my mind I would inevitably find that the crowd would bother me more than it might ordinarily.

Fifty-ninthly…

Prologue over, let’s go. I arrived and it wasn’t open yet. After 25 minutes in a cold queue, ingress was achieved and alcohol was purchased. Opening were Kill The Thrill from Marseilles. They seemed fairy unhappy while soundchecking (although I couldn’t make out a word of what they said in French, obviously) and later managed to break both a guitar string and a bass string (how do you break a bass string? Short of using a chisel as a pick?) in the space of the same song, so fate seems to have been against them. It didn’t hurt too much. They played industrial metal most akin to ‘Underachiever’ by Pitchshifter, with a few ‘Selfless’-era Godflesh obliterate-with-rhythm style moments. Quite melodic and the layering of the instruments (drum machine, bass, guitar, another guitar and vocals) created wonderful sonic depth, although their set as a whole did seem a bit samey. An enjoyable performance nonetheless.

After they finished, people began to pour in and the already substantial crowd swelled. It wasn’t long before the room was jam-packed full. I negotiated my way right to the front of the stage for a bit of breathing space. I’ve been in thicker crowds and not been affected, but this was really bothering me. The temptation to leave was strong, but I did really want to see the next band. I knew full well I’d be leaving straight away after, though.

All of this, I suppose, provided a perfectly oppressive setting for Jesu. Unlike the ‘sound of someone being crushed’ (I love that quote) of their forerunners, Godflesh, Jesu are an affirmation of humanity in the face of adversity. I have the album but I don’t know songtitles yet (and probably never will). Their first movement began with riff and drum, rolling forth and sweeping all in its path. Only after breaking point was reached do the vocals begin. Life – and thus hope – can exist even amongst the deluge.

So it continues. Everything is overlaid with crushing weight, but beams of light continue to burst through. This is a new kind of Soul music.

When they finish, of course, everyday pessimism returns. It’s all very well affirming humanity, but when your immediate problem is that there’s far too much humanity squeezed into a far too small space…

I left. Yeah, I missed Isis. Bite me.

~ Russ L

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