Friday, December 15, 2006

Melvins, with Big Business, The Garage, Glasgow, Thursday 14th December 2006

You would think that with a drummer as good as Dale Crover, the Melvins wouldn't feel the need to add another. That they've done exactly that is evidence of what makes them such a special band - their desire and ability to take straight-up rock & roll and push it further than almost anyone else.

With their latest album, (A) Senile Animal, (The) Melvins have added bass and drums duo Big Business to their arsenal, expanding to a four-piece, twin drummer line up. On record the sound is huge enough, but it really cannot compare to the live assault they present. The power of the two drummers is incredible. For the most part playing in sync with each other, they are at times almost earth shattering and, at the very least, ear shattering, propelling King Buzzo's guitar and Sideshow Bob hair and the fuzzed-up bass of Big Business' Jared Warren tirelessly for over an hour of gloriously heavy rock, with riffs and hooks aplenty. Tonight Glasgow, you have been very much rocked!

Photos of this gig available here.

Big Business

Monday, December 11, 2006

Josephine Foster, with Zaimph and Tight Meat Duo, Downstairs at The Captain's Rest, Glasgow, Wednesday 6th December 2006

For the second time in a month David Keenan and Alex Neilson's Tight Meat Duo tear the small space Downstairs at The Captain's Rest apart with their short intense blasts of free jazz, creating a high-energy freedom of expression from the manic clattering and pummelling of drums and squonking of saxophone.

Marcia Bassett is a hugely prolific presence in the world of drone and noise, part of, among many other projects, Hototogisu and Double Leopards. Tonight, in her solo Zaimph guise, she plays a wonderful set of subtle guitar atmospherics. Constructed from layers of e-bow and delicately manipulated guitar, it is dark and brooding, like the sounds of lost souls wailing into the void.

Despite a series of excellent albums in various incarnations, Josephine Foster has remained very much on the underground of the so-called 'new weird America' movement. She is definitely a true free folk spirit. Her songs here are often delicate and beautiful, though she is joined tonight by an incredibly energetic and expressive electric guitarist, who almost steals the show with his freaked out psychedelic guitar work, before drifting back to leave just her fragile roughly-hewn wisps of folk song. She is still a minority taste perhaps, even in these Joanna Newsom-enraptured times, but it is the lucky few who are here on this rainy Wednesday night.

Photos of this gig available here.

Josephine Foster

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bardo Pond, with Jackie O Motherfucker and Alexander Tucker, Mono, Glasgow, Tuesday 28th November 2006

Tonight's trio of consciousness-expanders begins with Alexander Tucker, who builds walls of textured drone that belie his lone, seated figure. With bowed guitar, acoustic arpeggios and wordless vocals, interspersed with occasional bursts of heavy noise, he masterfully begins our night of psychedelia.

Live, Jackie O Motherfucker are quite a way from the relative accessibility of last year's 'Flags Of The Sacred Harp'. They play long improvised organic jams, formed from a multitude of bowings, scrapings, drifting ghostly voices and shamanistic chanting. Over the course of an hour, their shuddering drones slowly rise and fall, coalescing every so often into half-songs and melodies

Bardo Pond’s similarly trance-inducing sounds are of a wholly different kind. The air is thick with their heavy riffs, the sound so dense it seems to tune the whole venue into their monolithic bass-heavy grooves. With the unstoppable juggernaut of Clint Takeda's bass and Jason Kourkounis' drums and the deep fuzz of the Gibbons brothers' dual guitars, all overlaid with the barely-heard whispers of Isobel Sollenberger's flute and vocals, Glasgow is treated to a wonderful dose of the finest psychedelic rock around.

Photos of this gig available here.

Bardo Pond
Jackie O Motherfucker
Alexander Tucker

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

MV & EE Medicine Show, with Tight Meat Duo and Meursault, Downstairs at The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Friday 17th November 2006

In most artistic circles, performing with ones back to the audience would be a definite no-no, but for aptly named Glasgow drone artist Meursault it was all part of the performance, as he created mysterious walls of melancholy noise from layers of looped and bowed guitar, infused with the same kind of aching, slow-moving sadness that makes William Basinksi and Andrew Chalk so wonderful.

Fresh from a stint touring America with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, this was very much a homecoming gig for drummer extraordinaire Alex Neilson, performing tonight with fellow Volcanic Tongue David Keenan on saxophone in their free jazz Tight Meat Duo incarnation. The energy and enthusiasm with which they played was a real delight to watch, with their short but glorious set positively overflowing with joyous freedom and expression.

MV & EE's brand of free folk is a vintage bluesy one, conjuring images of evenings on new-weird-American communes bashing out long drug-infused tales and analogue valve-driven jams. Soon overcoming initial amp problems, they played a set in which all the best of retro-feeling forward-looking psych, folk, blues, country and rock came together. The highlight of the night, however, was when they were joined for their final song by Alex Neilson, who again revelled in his return to freedom, driving forward a huge shuddering blast of gloriously free rock. With this catharsis, as the night wound up towards its ecstatic conclusions, there came a wonderfully Glaswegian shout from the shadowy recesses of the room; "awww man, this is pure head music!" and goddamn were they ever right.

Photos of this gig available here.