Chairman Of The Bored(-oms)
Gravepaintings were already on when I got there. The stage was too dark to be able to see them from whereabouts I was standing, but I gather they’re made up of folk from that Esquilax/Haddonfield Illinois circle. It might actually be fair to describe them as a cross between the two – electronic noise stuff, some of it beat-driven and rhythmic but more of it free-form. The former pounded along in a reasonably fun way, but most of the latter seemed to drift a bit (although I did quite like the section where the quiet backing track happily burbled away and was interupted by sudden sharp bursts of loud white noise. Water breaking through the cracks in a dam was the image it suggested to me).
(The) Boredoms were… very hard to describe. Witness, for example, the theramin-esque glowing globes (shades of The Photophonic Experiment came to mind. There’s a pun in there but I can’t be bothered to tease it out) wielded by Yamantaka Eye at the start of their set. “Soundballs!” gasped a man standing near me. There you go. Soundballs.
Seven disembodied guitar necks were arranged in a rack. From the distance and light, I thought they were synth modules at first. Silly me. They turned out to be highly amplified and specifically tuned, and so when hit across the width of the neck with a drumstick they would play a chord. Sometimes a really big drumstick would hit a couple at once. It really, really worked, and looked fantastic too.
This percussive way of playing guitars gives a key to the whole thing, since the percussive nature of it all was central. Three drumkits were arranged in an arc (with Eye in the middle of them all at time, leaping around. This added another sense to the ‘tribal’ feeling occasionaly brought up by the drums), playing polyrhythmicaly. At one point it all turned into a more salsa-ish sort of thing. I would dub it ‘psycho salsa’ for added alliterative amusement, but that would be rubbish.
You can tell I’m having trouble putting all of this into words, can’t you?
The weird thing about it, I suppose, was how it was weird and whacked out but never inaccessible at all. That’s quite a nifty trick, I think.
Amazing, anyway. Quite possibly the best live set of the year so far. It’s just all very difficult to verbalise.