Thursday, November 01, 2007
Venue: The Arches, Glasgow, 23rd October 2007
In the back Arch, in the Studio Theatre, there is a performance of James Kelman's Herbal Remedies, a show I saw the other week and have yet to write about. But tonight there is a contrasting event, requiring the front doors to Arch 1 to be opened as a separate entrance. There is a bustle at the ticket desk, which gives the initial impression of a crowd. Instead its a bottle neck, and having had a ticket for months, I bypass this line and enter Arch 2 through Arch 1. It is still quiet at this time, the bar open in Arch 3, with folk sitting about, a table of t-shirts and a handful of CDs for sale.
The hall fills up steadily, a crowd gathering at the stage in anticipation. A chunk of the crowd are here just to see Michael Gira. A cult musician, ex-member of the influential band The Swans. He comes on stage in a jacket and hat, takes both off, props them on a stand. Balances on a stool, prepares a stand with his laminated music and lyric sheets. A grey haired, respectable looking gentleman, with an acoustic guitar preparing to play music. Gira is not someone I am hugely familiar with, I know some Swans, but haven't particularly followed his career. I hadn't even known he was supporting till friends mentioned it the week before the gig. His sound was raw and apocalyptic, charged full of despair and bile. Between songs he gave an impression of being amiable and polite, though stopped half way through a song to tear strips off an offending photographer.
The Boredoms set up was similar to that of the set they performed at 2003's Instal festival under the name V-infinity-Oredoms. Three drum kits set up in a circle, the seats taken by Muneomi Senju, Yojiro and Yoshimi P-We. The set starting with front man Yamantaka Eye swinging light bulbs - light filled globes, at the end of cables, connected to contact mics or some such - so that as he spun them they lit up and faded, crunched and squealed. Three drum kits building up rhythms from there, establishing a pattern for the remainder of the set. Building and crashing levels of percussion, with Eye playing electronics and chanting. A rig sits at the back of the stage, a rack of 7 planks of wood, set up as guitar parts, struck with sticks to create discord. P-We adds her voice at times, contrasting Eye's, turns and plays out of tune notes on a keyboard, adding psychedlic moments of bizarreness.
Overall, the moments of prog-rock wibbliness were of less interest, but the up-beat enthusiastic percussion was a joy, some of the extra elements like the guitar rack and light bulbs making those sections better than the last time I saw them play.
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