Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sudden Infant, Astral Social Club, Spoils & Relics, Door.

Sudden Infant
Astral Social Club

Sudden Infant, Astral Social Club, Spoils & Relics, Door.
Wharf Chambers, 22, November, 2012.

Before we all decamp to Bristol for the Schimpfluch Love-In there’s the small matter of a few Sudden Infant warm up gigs to attend. Its been a while since we saw Sudden Infant in Leeds, if my memory doesn’t fail me it was at the Fenton about four years ago, at a time when you could still put gigs on at the Fenton without the management Googling you first to ascertain whether you filled their criteria [i.e. indie landfill]. That night he sparred with Bill Kouligas and despite having a heavy cold still managed to produce a set of industrial metal clanging pummel sing-a-long-a-Schimpers that still has the ability to linger long in the memory.

Joke Lanz’s long running Sudden Infant project is one that never leaves an audience dissatisfied. Over the years I’ve seen quite a few fall under his spell, including most memorably the night in new York when he silenced a crowd of beer filled boisterous American noise freaks with a story about an old women in a wheel chair. In front of a crowd who wanted another set of ear filling noise he stilled them with a set that could be traced all the way back to the Cabaret Voltaire.

Lanz stands in bare feet, a wild clump of hair stuck like up sore fingers, home made tats, black toe nail polish, exaggerated facial expressions accompany his [I assume] stream of consciousness stories. Tonight's concerns a small boy locked in the room of a tall building, to accompany it there's a contact mic that acts as percussion, Lanz holds it to his throat and gurgles/screams, hits his leg with it, hits a key and a pummeling beat has the audience wriggling like eels and then a silence and lips up to the microphone kissing it each sound crystal clear, head butting it, headbutting the microphone out of its stand and on tot he floor. At the end of his short set there's a ‘song’ about a girl who kills herself and the refrain is one long cathartic scream accompanied by a blizzard of noise. When he’s finished there’s people who are genuinely in awe and want to shake his hand. Roll on Bristol.

Before that we saw Campbell at his energetic best. Whether it was the Sam Smiths or he’d won the lottery I know not but for some reason the spirit was with him and for about 30 minutes he howled like a banshee, no he really did howl like a banshee, head back open mouthed from the pit of the stomach roars that he fed into a machine that made them come back in echoing waves as he applied the beats via a couple of Kaoss pads and some gizmos that he flung wildly about. And then he kicked his guitar around, pulled some strings off it and thrashes the living daylights out of it before collapsing all over his equipment like a marathon runner on his last legs. Impressive stuff. Campbell isn’t known for his sat down laptop email checking sets but this was enthusiastic even by his standards, a triumphant triptych of squiggling beats and searing drones that bashed against our ears like the disco next door gone awol.

Even further back came the electro-acoustic men. You can’t seem to move for them in Leeds these days and for that lets give thanks. Door are Leeds newcomers and have some problems with their equipment but still show enough promise to indicate that their best days are in front of them; an upturned cymbal and a couple of Walkmans played through a mixer appeared to be the meat of it and after a sludgy start they manage to create some delightful crystalline, out-there sounds coming through the murk.

Which leaves Spoils & Relics who always seem to deliver a thoughtful chin rubbing set. Three of them hunched over a table lit only by the LED displays of their equipment, a subtle flowing set, I couldn’t see what they were using, too dark, all part of the mystery for me though.

Wharf Chambers seems to be becoming my second home. Tonight its Vile Plumage, Truant, Hagman and the Early Hominids. More electro-acoustic, drone, noise weirdness and with the promise of an alfresco Filthy Turd as pre gig entertainment its to the bus stop for me.

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