Sunday, July 13, 2008

Super Sonic Day Two - Custard Factory Saturday 12th July 2008

Day Two...let Battle(s) commence. Actually that's a lot later. A LOT later. First up Cath and Phil Tyler. I'm kind of getting Super Sonic a bit more now. Eclectic ain't the word. After Friday night's Japanese ragga, drum n'bass and deep, dark hip hop, Saturday began with some sweet n'uplifting folk and bluegrass. The heavily with child Cath has a voice that's as clear and fresh as the dew on a Spring morn. And that's fresh. I'm not sure her 'splodge' was lovin' it as much as I was, but maybe he/she is more of a Beestung Lips fan? Excellent stuff. Dashed across the site to catch a bit of Black Sun. Contrast? What contrast? Ahhh...that's the point of Super Sonic. It messes with your head. Folk and Bluegrass to death metal (apologies to Black Sun if they aren't death metal, but like I said yesterday I'm in unfamiliar territory here) in 60 seconds. Caught a bit of The Owl Service, good, harmony heavy folk, then whizzed back over to the Space 2 Stage for The Courtesy Group who were, as ever, magnificent. Rising to the challenge of playing to a pretty decent audience (their biggest ever?), the band, and Al in particular, owned the place. He did his trademark wandering around the audience bit and interspersed the songs with his poems. Isn't there something Shakesperian about him? Maybe that's just me. Who knows, perhaps in the dim and distant future there'll be a GCSE in the poetry of The Courtesy Group. School groups will be transported to the site of Ye Olde Hare and Hounds on field trips. There'll be animatronic versions of the band performing their hits...see what happens when I don't get enough sleep.

You'll note I don't make too many comments on some of the heavier stuff I witnessed. That's not to say I didn't like some or all of it. I'm just not sure I've yet found the right frame of mind to fully appreciate the 'sound'. Which again kind of reinforces the point of the whole Super Sonic deal. Try something new, you might like it. If you don't, well, at least it gives you something to tell the grandkids. Speaking of which...did anyone else out there catch Justice Yeldham (pictured)? Get this...the guy plays a large shard of glass by blowing on it, sucking it, biting it...yes...biting it. It's hooked up to some kind of pick-up, then the noise is routed to a distortion belt. It sounds like satan in a really, really pissed off mood. The more he 'plays' the more the grass gets broken up, the more blood flows, the dirtier the sound gets. I have to say it's a pretty disturbing sight, but absolutely fascinating to watch and listen to. Few things strike me as being unique these days...Justice Yeldham is one of them though. The set ended with Justice (who was barefoot for the whole performance) smashing what was left of the glass in his own face. The conversation I overheard between a medic (who'd been summoned to the stage by an anxious security guard) was priceless. Suffice to say he was less than impressed by Mr Yeldham and kept repeating what he'd just seen as if he couldn't believe his own eyes 'What was he doing...he just smashed glass in his face...what's he his own his face...'. Made me chuckle anyway. Health and Safety be damned. I couldn't resist talking to our Justice briefly afterwards. What do you say to a guy covered in his own blood and splinters of someone's front window? After finding out he was from Sydney I asked him the bloody obvious question 'Does it hurt?'. 'Stings a bit afterwards' he replied. I'm available for chat shows if anyone else needs my brilliant interviewing skills...

What next? Oh yes. A snatch of man...loads of fx...and a lot of noise. Then off to Efterklang. They were, as predicted by Russ L, an absolute treat. A happier Sigur Ros, shades of Foals in places and the same kind of uplifting feel I got from Yeasayer. The band are a sweet as a puppy with pigtails, the music makes the soul soar and the crowd gave them the biggest round of applause of the weekend so far. Glorious.

It's contrast time again. Oxbow. The band's first release is actually one of my favourite phrases...'Fuckfest'. Just about sums up life really. Sums up the music too, but in a good way. Lead Ox, Niko, seems to have a penchant for performing in his pants. Turns out to be a handy place to store his microphone too. Musically it's a heavy, sweaty, potent mix of ominous guitars, clattering drums and Eugene's primal (with a dash of real soul) howl.

Think I saw some of The Heads next (Oxbow made me go a bit blurry), then back to Space 2 for Fuck Buttons, which is the perfect name for a band that fucks about with buttons (of the electronic kind). Electronically bonkers. One minute there's some sweet little bleeping going on, the next one of 'em is screaming his head off down a kiddies microphone. The kind of music you want to play on a Monday morning at work.

Still with me? I'm not sure I am. To wrap up, Battles. One of the few bands I'd heard off and, predictably, more in my 'comfort zone' (if a use that phrase again will you please kill me?). A less vocal, slighty more edgy Foals. Very much focused on the ferocious drumming of John Stanier who showed a Budgie (The Creatures and Banshees drummer) like energy. Atlas was astonishingly good, like a nursery rhyme sung by a demented child, all backed by Adam and the Ants and Brian Eno. Towards the end my brain felt like a well kicked football. Serves me right for standing at the front all day I guess, but I managed to stagger off to catch a bit of Harvey Milk. Heavy. Very heavy. That's as much as I can muster right now. Day three here I come...

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