Call me Russ L

Supersonic Festival 2006 – Friday

Posted in Music by Russ L on 10 August, 2006

Supersonic (courtesy of Capsule) was amazing. Last year was absolutely fantastic, but this topped it by far. For those unaware, Supersonic is an annual festival in Brum, spread over the various venues of the Custard Factory site, and consisting of a varied program of interesting music.

I’ll get through my only complaint (come on, there had to be something) first, and it’s not directly anything to do with the festival – the Medicine Bar in the Custard Factory has stopped selling cheap bottles of Carlsberg, and now only dispenses expensive bottles of whatever-have-you else. I used to hate the venue mainly because of the pricing and only started to like it when they began selling said Danish bargains, but now my opinion has gone woooooooosh back to hatred. I curse them. You can still go across the way to pay over the odds for a pint of watery lager in The Kitchen (served, of course, in plastic glasses with the least possible yield strength any object could have whilst still being solid. Salvador Dali glasses, as a foolish man wisely noted) which is still cheaper than the bottles, but I know that place shuts early on some nights. A second time, I curse them. (Edited on 17/8/6: The Carlsberg bottles were back last night, albeit in limited numbers. I just don’t know what to think anymore…)

The festival began on the night of Friday the 21st of June. I stuck to the main line-up in the Med Bar. When going to buy drinks in The Kitchen (and thrice shall I curse them) I saw a procession of DJs being all wacky and ker-razy by wearing masks or dropping children’s TV themes amongst their sets. It probably all sounds like a good idea in a student refectory but it’s not especially entertaining. Having said all that I should note that The Countryside Alliance Crew who played in there later on seemed to impress a lot of people, but I didn’t see them.

Mistress were on first , doing another ‘entire new album’ set. I’m really getting into this new stuff, now. The big doomy one and the chuggy headbangy one that I’ve mentioned previously were again the highlights, but all of it seemed to have an epic sweep about it. They grind and they blast, they doom and they riff, they’re not purely a sludge band anymore and haven’t been for years. Most people likely to be reading this will know Mistress already but if not, give ‘em a listen. One of the best noisy metal bands going.

PCM were initially sounding a lot more groove-oriented than the last time I saw them but soon got down to destruction mode (whilst still grooving a lot, of course). There’s a nice mix of sounds in their heads-down-and-charge styled drum ‘n’ bass, varied even further when they were subsequently joined by The World’s Most Unlikely MC, Karl Willetts o’ Bolt Thrower. In all honesty, he didn’t make as much of a radical impact on the music as you might think and at times his growls got lost in the overall massive low-enderation, but it was a fun addition and he looked like he was having the time of his life up there.

The Bug’s industrial dancehall was truly fantastic, proving to be everything I’d hoped for (and I’d hoped for a lot). The man himself laid down walls of earthshaking sub-bass before being joined by the vocals of Ras B (looking slightly baffled, presumably by the unexpectedly shaggy-haired audience in front of him) and Warrior Queen (a proper woman – filthy mind and thighs you could use to club wildebeests to death). I’ve said before (as much as I hate to make genre-alisations. Arf. See what I did there?) that live reggae makes me dance like little else; the energy and groove here did that as much as ever and I threw quite the foolish shapes, while the brutal sonic elements simultaneously appealed to some of my other sensibilities (Chest-caving bass! Ear-shredding-scrapey noises! Oh, how I love me some chest-caving bass and ear-shredding scrapey noises). Act of the night.

The night wasn’t over but my wrecked (in numerous ways) little self left at this point, ready for the big day after. My waffling about that will follow very soon.

~ Russ L, urging everyone even remotely capable of getting to Birmingham to go to Supersonic next year.

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