Call me Russ L

Super, Sonic, Great

Posted in LOTTSADITWM, Music by Russ L on 21 July, 2009

And lo, Capsule’s annual Supersonic festival at The Custard Factory in Birmingham’s Digbeth (the Irish/arts/disused factories/SILENCE, YOU quarter) inexorably advances upon us like one of those scary street-hooverer-vehicle-things with the big brushes on the front. Scare the bloody life out of me, them bleeders.

SssssSonic, conversely, fills me with joy. This year it is held between the 24th (that would be this coming Friday) and the 26th (that would be this coming Sunday. This coming Saturday will be between the two, in the customary fashion) and – as ever – features a load of bands that everyone else has heard of apart from me. On the off chance that you don’t already know the lot, I’d recommend the preview podcasts that Brumcast have assembled as a starting point: part one and part two will give you an intro to a fair few of the acts a-playing (on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, if you’re looking for the timetables).

The headliners are a mixed bag for me: call me crap at liking music if you must, but neither Goblin nor SunnO)))parentheseseseseses))) hold a particularly large amount of attraction. Japanese dooooooooooom-types Corrupted should be good, though, as long as they don’t come across as toooooooooo samey live, and breakcore/IDM/lunacy-merchant Venetian Snares will be ace if he can actually be bothered to get on stage and do a set this time around (word had it last time he came to Brum that he refused to play because the venue had the wrong brand/make of CD player, although I can’t really remember if that’s a rumour I heard or a rumour I started). I don’t really know industrial-rockers Head Of David all that well (there’s half a week left, gimme time) but the bits I’ve heard sound like fun.

Things of note elsewhere, then:

~ Scorn’s dark-arsed industrial dub will be ace, but since he’s on at same time as Sunno)))bracketseseseses))) I’m slightly concerned that he might not be easy to hear. I’m even more concerned that the combined bass of the two acts might be enough to get all of Digbeth shut down forever.

~ I saw rhythmic instrumental Japanese ladies Nisennenmondai supporting Acid Mothers Temple last August and thought they were really very good – the missing link between Can and Battles, perhaps. I also enjoyed the great bit of lost-in-translation-ification from their recent interview in that “Stool Pigeon” freesheet thing – “What’s your new album about?” “It’s about £10.”

~ Earthless were completely unknown to me until I listened to the above podcasts and are still pretty unfamiliar, but I’m liking what I’ve heard so far of their cross between Comets On Fire, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Corrosion Of Conformity and The Edgar Winters Group.

~ When I first saw the name Rose Kemp around, I’d assumed it was a band using a fairly poor pun on “Ross Kemp”. Cruel and unfortunate fate has it that it’s actually an individual’s real name. Poor cow. What’s good, though, is her Jeff-Buckley-in-a-folk-metal-band sound.

~ The Accused – ‘Splatter Rock’ sez they, ‘fun metallic punk ala Poison Idea’ sez me.

~ Bunny Bissoux will be creating Petting Zoo-themed artwork. The artist herself probably won’t be aware, but I’m claiming credit/responsibility for giving Capsule the idea of this. And I’m doing so whether it’s actually true or not.

~ Stuff elsewhere: I’m always slightly surprised that no real fringe festival has ever evolved for Supersonic (given the large audience and full complement of national/international folk travelling inwards you’d think there’s be all sorts of related things going on around the outsides, whether officially connected with the festival or not. Or is that just me?), but even without that there is stuff a-happening. On the way there (well… on the way if you’re coming from roughly the same place as me. If you’re not coming from roughly the same place as me then I won’t rub it in, you probably feel bad enough as it is) former Soup’n’Sonic guest Yukio Fujimoto has his The Tower Of Time installation at Perrott’s Folly in Edgbaston (in which the ticking of 1,111 clocks blurs into supertone white noise as you ascend the tower), and then at Moor Street Station you can see There Are No Others, There Is Only Us (boids and Ben Frost). Once out into Digbeth, Ikon Eastside has When The Scales Fall From Your Eyes (visual exploration of alledged modern obsession with weights and measures), Vivid has Participation – The Film And Video Workshop Movement 1979-1991 (wot film-makers dun in the 80s), and Eastside Projects has Does Your Contemplation Of The Situation Fuck With The Flow Of Circulation ( I’m really not sure, but there are some pretty pictures at that link). If the metal at S’Sonic ain’t quite consistently proper-metal enough for you, meanwhile, Testament are playing at The Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton on Saturday night (about twenty minutes on the train from New Street Station).

~ Surrounding establishments: Make sure you pop into The Rainbow while you’re in that neck of the woods and buy a pint or two to help them raise money for their troubles. The Lamp Tavern on Barford Street is probably the best drinkin’ pub in Digbeth, although most of ‘em round there are good. Manzils on the High Street (head back towards Selfridges from The Custard Factory and it’s on your right when you’re nearly there) is a reasonable place for a curry.

~ Onsite stuff: THERE IS NO CASH MACHINE IN THE CUSTARD FACTORY SO GET YOUR MONEY OUT BEFOREHAND (doesn’t make any difference to me – West Brom Building Society represent – but this is something that seems to be a big deal for a lot of people). If previous years are anything to go by (and there’s no reason why they necessarily should be, so don’t come crying to me if this plan doesn’t work) then there will be big queues and crowds at opening time (9pm) on the Friday, but you can usually pick up your wristband a little while before then if you have a ticket-in-advance. I’d do that and then head back to the pub for a bit if I were you. Let’s not have too many of you steaming into The Lamp, though, I’ll want some peace and quiet.

~ If the weather is anything other than ‘temperate’ and I find out which one of you is responsible then you’ll be for it, mate. Be warned.


4 Responses

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  1. NRG said, on 22 July, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I realise that as one of only two bands on the lineup that most people have already heard of this may be superfluous, but Caribou really really REALLY should not be missed. They’re so good live I was considering going to supersonic despite not wanting to see any other bands (Indietracks just won out in the end)

  2. Russ L said, on 22 July, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I’d not heard of Caribou. Re-examining the listings of those Brumcast podcasts tells me that I must have actually heard them, but I don’t recall how they sounded. I will make a point of having another listen.

  3. naila said, on 24 July, 2009 at 12:22 am


  4. […] Previews * NME * Vice Magazine – Festival Guide Interview with Earthless + The Accused + Growing + Skullflower * The Line Of The Best + Interview with Supersonic * Drowned In Sound * Terrorizer Magazine interview Iron Lung + Thorrs Hammer + Johnny Doom * The Quietus interview with Goblin * The Guardian : Festival preview + Goblin Interview * Strange Glue * Alex Fitch * Jazz Breakfast * Electric Sheep * The Stirrer * The Skinny * Birmingham Post – Creative Industries * Birmingham Post – Brum Cast pod cast no1 * Birmingham Post – Helga Henry column * I want your Skull * Time Out Magazine * blablaismo * Dazed Digital – interview with Goblin * Alt Sound * Clash Magazine * Fused Magazine * Fact Magazine * Jazzwise * Sup Magazine * Soundshock * Russ L […]


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