Not content with providing members with free entry before midnight and a third dancefloor once inside, this evening’s Slimelight also saw the London debut of both of Vasi Valis’ current musical projects. Having had other priorities at Leipzig and having missed InFest entirely, it was also my first chance to see him play in any form other than as a VNV live keyboardist. I never saw NamNamBulu, not that I was ever a particularly big fan, but more recent works have been of slightly greater interest, so I definitely up for catching this double bill. Continue reading
In recent years, I have endeavoured to see as many bands as possible in the twisted family tree of neo-folk. Unlike other genres, I found virtually all of them have some unique feature that sets them apart, whilst neo-folk events themselves often feel like special occasions rather than ‘just another gig’. I hadn’t to date seen Sol Invictus – I’d had one chance at WGT 2005, but was on the wrong side of town with heavy rain outside and little chance of getting in the venue. So I had to wait for this – the first London show for Tony Wakeford’s project in 7 years. Continue reading
The Slimelight seems to have been a regular location for scene gigs of late. Their live facilities are rather basic, but they’re able to undercut most of the other venues cost-wise (especially when they put the shows on themselves) and have the benefit of hosting the after-party in the same place, inclusive of ticket price. This package was particularly attractive when you consider tonight’s line-up featured Rotersand, a band that had been filling the clubs floors for the last few years, supported by RBN, a project fronted by the DJ that had helped popularise them around here in the first place. Continue reading
Killing Miranda have been rather quiet of late, and anyone familiar with their reputation in the UK scene will know that’s not their style. Despite a couple of successful international shows (including a WGT slot which I was sadly unable to attend), they do not seem to be building on their excellent 2004 album ‘Consummate’. Two years on and there doesn’t seem to be much progress – I myself am vaguely aware of some of the reasons, but I won’t bore you with the details here. They were playing Bar Monsta in Camden and I, eager to make up for missing their shows earlier this year, was going to be there. Continue reading
The recent Front Line Assembly tour had impressed greatly, but Bill’s current live band still lacked one key person – Rhys Fulber, his creative colleague for the majority of his post-Skinny Puppy career (except for a brief period in the late 90s/early 00s where Chris Peterson stood in). His touring efforts were clearly been put into Conjure One. The project’s London show took place in Elektrowerkz as a pre-Slimelight show promoted by Cryonica, presumably a result of Rhys’s industrial-scene connections. Continue reading
There was talk of last years Black Celebration being the last, but somehow Flag Promotions managed to put together another 9-band line-up and (for once) keep the billing intact from the start of promotion to the big day. Not that the line-up really offered much originality – for Psyche and XPQ-21, this was just one of many UK shows they would perform this year. Deathboy and I Am Immune had both performed at this event at the same point in the billing as in 2005 (the latter under a different name) and even the concept of a ‘farewell show’ from The Chaos Engine (the UK scene’s answer to Frank Sinatra in terms of long goodbyes) seems quite tired now. Continue reading
Despite all the reviews you read on this site, it may surprise you to find that I’m no great traveller. Living in London means most of the bands I want to see are a tube ride away from my house, and yearly visits to WGT and M’era Luna (Germany being the foreign country I feel most at home in) wrap up the remainder. So my decision to visit Stockholm for the Tinnitus festival was not taken lightly. Sweden was to be only the seventh country I had visited, and it was also my first visit to Scandinavia and the furthest I’d ever been from home (though in the jet age, this just means an extra hour on the plane). Continue reading
By my reckoning, it had been over three years since In Strict Confidence last played London, and that slot was a curtailed and highly misplaced six-song support for The Damned. Whilst ‘Promised Land’ from their decent album has seen a bit of airplay in the UK, the reality is that they’re just not that popular over here. They were headlining upstairs at Elektrowerkz, a venue with a capacity of around 300. Nonetheless, they’ve made it this far when many of their countrymen have failed to do so, so despite having seen them play M’era Luna a month ago, I decided to show my face and offer my support.
Promoters Cryonica had booked two support bands, though the first, Anti-Valium wasn’t really a ‘band’ has such. Neither, for that matter, did they ‘support’ the evenings proceedings. They’re a two piece (Andrew Trail and Hunter Barr from Knifeladder) who subscribe to the traditional, highly experimental school of industrial – layers of electronic noise and disembodied vocals. Unlike Knifeladder, however, they didn’t have John Murphy hammering out the tribal rhythms, and it was on that point that the project failed. The individual compositions simply didn’t progress or develop sufficiently – the noises just sort of floated there before they would twiddle a few knobs and cut to another line of attack. Maybe this sort of thing is an acquired taste, but having spent a day at the CMI festival earlier this year, I’m pretty sure I know how I like my avant-garde electronics, and this isn’t it!
The other support tonight were the ever-present Katscan. My opinion of this foul-mouthed collective has waxed and waned over the years. Sometimes I’ve found their electronic industrial with punk attitude entertaining – on others, I’ve found myself standing there wondering what was so special. Unfortunately, tonight’s performance fell into the latter category. Martin Katscan was giving the mic it’s usual abuse, but through the rather underwhelming Elektrowerkz live rig, any vitality the music may have had was lost.
And so In Strict Confidence came on to headline. They seemed to be lacking their live guitarist, whilst the keyboard player was clearly working with borrowed kit (or to put it simply, his keyboard had a big ‘Kat5can’ sticker over the back). Still, at least both of the band’s vocalists were present. ISC’s recent recordings have utilised increasing proportions of female vocals and it simply made sense to incorporate them into the live show. Pity they didn’t have the guitar to incorporate as well.
Anyway, the assembled four-piece arrived on stage without much of a build-up and immediately set about performing ‘Promised Land’. Dennis’ vocals sounded OK, but it took a while before Nadine’s were audible in the mix, and even then they were never loud enough at any stage of the show. The early part of the set saw them dispatch the majority of their ‘dual vocal’ songs, with ‘Seven Lives’ being the strongest of these. Dennis was then left to perform three ‘classics’ on his own – ‘Kiss Your Shadow’ and ‘Zauberschloss’ both working well, but the version of ‘Herzattacke’ they’re playing these days is not as good as the album cut – the crucial ‘Angriff! Herzattacke!’ seems to be lost somewhere on the backing track when it should be belted out over and above the lyrics that follow.
They eventually finished on ‘Fading Light’. By now there was a little more cohesion to things, though this was still always going to be a ‘best of a bad job’ performance (exactly like ISC’s last London show, for that matter). There was enough of an audience to call for a couple of encores, with ‘Emergency’ from 2004’s ‘Holy’ making a surprise appearance (it also being the first time I’ve seen ISC perform a song without Dennis Ostermann on stage). They eventually closed on ‘Engelstaub’, which sounded as good as it could have done under the circumstances.
I still felt a little disappointed by what I saw. Whilst the band I came to see have a decent basic set and seemed at least able to perform their own songs with proficiency (‘Herzattacke’ aside), the Elektrowerkz soundsystem just wasn’t up to the job tonight. I happen to think In Strict Confidence are sorely underrated in the UK, but it’s been years since they’ve had a decent chance to show us what they can do. There was a Noisex show at around 1am, but I was fading fast and decided to skip Raoul’s beat frenzy on this occasion.
This was my first experience of the club run bi-weekly by the Client threesome in the Notting Hill Arts club. Whilst the venue isn’t the nicest on the London circuit, it’s an interesting change and the £2-per-bottle German beers soon warmed me to the place. Five bands were billed, though headliner Robert Görl (of DAF game) was so late on stage that I was unable to watch his set. I’d liked to have heard what he’s up to these days, but last tube trains wait for no man. Continue reading
I’m not sure how long it’s been since Front Line Assembly last played London, but I discovered their music in 1998 and they certainly haven’t played in the locality since then. Several new albums, of course, but no live action anywhere in the UK. Such was the nature of my live schedule that I had managed to see them at M’era Luna two weeks prior to this event, but there was no way I was missing this show, either. They’d played InFest the previous evening (a festival I elected not to attend this year, for various complicated reasons), and initial reports were good. Hopes were high. Continue reading