Friday 13th July
Enjoy Art Space. Leeds.
DJ’s Bill Kouligas + Rian Treanor
This is what electronic gigs in Berlin must be like. Enjoy Art Space is one of those derelict mills in a once industrial part of town where artists have found the rents cheap and the neighbours not too bothered about a gig that’ll run until five in the morning. Being an old fart I turned up at the venue at 7.45pm to find it shut. When it opened at eight the few people who were there seemed genuinely surprised to see a punter at such an early hour. When Helm, the first act of the night, appeared at 9.30 and played for an hour it became clear that the night was going to be a long one but by this time the Undermiester had appeared and he was gagging for a decent pint.
The set up is all hidden lighting, white walls with benches around the sides, a punchy PA and a row of seats set up in front of lap tops and mixers where the artists appear unannounced and play for an hour. The Helm set was initially drowned out by audience chatter [the gig was a sell out by the way] but once the gluey, trippy half submerged beats were augmented by some fierce noise like howlings the chatter disappeared and attentions were focused. Within minutes of Helm concluding his set the next act kicked in but who it was I couldn’t tell you. Whatever it was that this person was playing it had the effect of driving most of the audience outside for a fag and me and the Undermiester in search of a pub. We found two, both of which were shut and both of which looked like they’d never serve another pint again. We bemoaned the dying pub trade and wondered what a Friday night in Mabgate must have been like when the Foundry workers clocked out and the pubs thronged with thirsty workers sinking a few pints before heading off home to the missus and the kids.
Giving up our search and watering the plants amidst the philosophical graffiti [‘art is what you can get away with’] we returned to the venue to find whoever it was still pumping out his fractured beats to an audience that was smaller than the number of people outside. Having no enthusiasm or the energy to bat it out until five in the morning I bought a copy of Helm’s PAN LP shook hands with people and navigated the limo through the desolate roadways that is the Leeds outer ring road.
The Helm LP is an absolute stonker. A joy to listen to on a quiet Saturday night in with a bottle of Fino. All hidden beats, huge bashings of metal, found sounds, almost industrial in places with nods to ear piercing Whitehouse moments, lots of portent and groaning machinery, desolate, empty foreboding works. Five tracks, all quite different in approach and all wrapped up in those deliciously desirably Bill Kouligas graphics. These PAN LP’s are slowly becoming thee most necessary of fetish items.
The Hope Foundry on Mabgate.
The City of Mabgate pub.
Cover art for Helm LP 'Impossible Symmetry'