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Swans / Little Annie (live at Trinity Community Arts)

Bristol 26 May 2017

Little Annie live May 2017The stage may have dwarfed her stature, but Little Annie‘s cabaret queen antics were larger than life, completely over-spilling the place. Cloaked in Eastern silk, her waist a blaze of African bracelets, Annie’s hoarse vocal was something to be treasured – both warm and vibrant, bursting with wit

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Marc Ribot live at Café OTO

London 11 May 2017

Marc Ribot live May 2017There’s a scene towards the end of John Carpenter’s turbo-charged 1982 creature feature The Thing when the titular metamorph – just before being blown to shit by Kurt Russell’s vengeful sticks of dynamite – writhes and transmutes in all its slimy, gory glory.

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Damo Suzuki / The Cube Orchestra/ Agathe Max (live at The Exchange)

Bristol 12 May 2017

Damo Suzuki live May 2017French violinist Agathe Max warmed things up with a stunning set of looped riches, her bow floating with the gymnastic gait of a trapeze artist as she filled the canvas with different textures and tonal depths.

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Einstürzende Neubauten (live at The Forum)

London 4 May 2017

Einstürzende Neubauten live May 2017Einstürzende Neubauten are a band very close to my heart — indeed, they reside in tattoo form on my left arm, so it’s literally a matter of inches. So I am delighted when, having given up on seeing what’s billed as a Greatest Hits set due to lack of funds, I find out at the last minute that I’ve been assigned to cover it for this esteemed organ (no giggling at the back).

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Desertfest 2017

London 28-30 April 2017

Friday

Vodun at Desertfest 2017

GP: It’s the one date on my calendar that I look forward to each year. Three days of having my ears pummelled by some of the heaviest bands around and a chance to see some artists perform in the UK for the first time, this is Desertfest. Across five venues in three days, Desertfest takes over Camden Town with heavy guitars and an audience with more long hair and beards than you would see in an average Viking film.

Every year the event seems to get larger and attract more and more people; this year the large cavernous space of The Roundhouse is one of the venues. Each time, the organization that goes into hosting the event gets better, even though it gets bigger. It

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Thor & Friends / Kite Base (live at The Lexington)

Thor and Friends live May 2017

London 2 May 2017

What makes the difference between just another gig and a profoundly uplifting experience? This is the question that I am left pondering in the wake of Thor Harris‘s (erstwhile Swans) percussion and noise collective Thor & Friends show at The Lexington last night.

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Flowers Must Die / Saddar Bazaar / Stereocilia (live at The Cube)

Bristol 28 April 2017

Flowers Must Die live April 2017Stereocilia‘s haunted ambience has been hooking me in for some time now, the cinematic scope of his recent LP was blinding, but tonight’s show just blew me clean away.

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The Bug vs Earth / Bong (live at Heaven)

London 12 April 2017

The Bug vs Earth live April 2017Belinda Carlisle was right when she said “Heaven is a place on Earth”. David Byrne, however, despite the superiority of his recorded output, was wrong when he said “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens”. Although he was KIND of closer to the money when he said “the band in Heaven play my favourite song, play it one more time, play it all night long”.

Because first up on the bill tonight at Heaven are Bong, a band I have never heard, but from their name and seeing them as they come on stage, I am reliably ensured by my own experience that I will like them.

And yes. Some high fantasy stuff declaimed at the start, amps cranked up to

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Mayhem / Dragged Into Sunlight (live at the Electric Ballroom)

London 29 March 2017

Mayhem live March 2017In the early ’90s, the Norwegian metal scene was a scary place to be. Church burnings, murders, violent assaults and a total refusal to take metal’s Hammer movie schtick as anything other than deadly serious mean that anything written about the era is as much true crime as it is musical history.

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Richard Barbieri (live at Hoxton Hall)

London 28 March 2017

Richard Barbieri live March 2017Tonight, the rather beautiful Hoxton Hall is packed to the rafters with people all here to witness a rare solo performance of Richard Barbieri. The hall looks like it’s more used to hosting Jacobean theatre productions

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SunnO))) / Hildur Guðnadóttir (live at Convergence)

The Barbican, London 21 March 2017

SunnO))) live at Convergence 2017The tickets. We purchased them, they came. Who are they? Explorers in the further reaches of experience — demons to some, angels to others. We bought the tickets, they came. Now we must come with them and taste their pleasures.

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Tycho (live at Electric Brixton)

Tycho live February 2017

27 February 2017

The Electric Brixton was formerly called The Ace and then The Fridge — the venue always had its problems (even though it was smaller), but since its refurbishment as the Electric these problems somehow seem to be accentuated.

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Wormrot / Afternoon Gentlemen / The Atrocity Exhibit (live at The Underworld)

London 23 February 2017

Wormrot live February 2017OK, so full disclosure — it’s been at least a decade since I went to a grindcore show. At least a decade; maybe two. So I’m coming at this with… if not “fresh”, then at least “renewed” eyes (if not ears). I’ve not been keeping up with the live scene, let’s put it that way.

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UnicaZürn / Charles Bullen (live at Café OTO)

London 25 January 2017

UnicaZürn live January 2017Charles Bullen of This Heat fame was up first, ricocheting a rich stream of bubbling metallics from a specially adapted lap-steel contraption. A set of gamboling percussives and deep Balinese-like bounces drawn through a shanty town of effects. All very fragmented, his sparse trajectories sped off in doubling harmonics with the odd bit of accidental mobile phone surreally spluttering through.

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Boris / The Broken Oak Duet (live at The Electric Ballroom)

London 13 December 2016

Boris live Decemebr 2016 Boris are back! One of Japan’s finest rock bands are back in town to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their crossover hit album Pink, by… well, by playing it, obviously!

But first we get The Broken Oak Duet, who I don’t want to sound too mean about, because they kick out quite a noise between the two of them. They’re tight, focused and rock hard; their real problem is that they’re maybe a little TOO tight and focused — it’s all a bit precision-engineered.

They’ve got the technique and the discipline, but what they’re really lacking is some craziness and chaos. They’ve got all the riffs and big sound you could ask for, and would make a kick-ass

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