It was the day of the flying ants. The humidity in London was building and it felt like a storm was about to break any minute. Before hitting the venue I went to the local pub to have a beer and cool down after the heat of London transport. People who sat outside were being assailed by ants and for a brief few seconds a shower hit that washed some of them away. Then the heat rose and steam made its way upwards from the pavement. These were the omens, the portents of what was to come as my ears were about to be aurally assaulted.
Corsica Studios were hot and sticky and the air con didn’t seem to be doing its job well. But as the dry ice began to seep around the audience and the first notes crunched through the air, the heat was forgotten as we were on a trip to the stars and this was The Cosmic Dead’s time. The Glasgow quartet have been playing some amazing live shows over the last few years and each time I see them they seem to get more and more powerful. The mixture of drone, freakout and space rock works so well. Omar Aborida‘s driving bass is one of the lynchpins to setting the band off on their intergalactic wigouts. Lewis Cook’s synths have a touch of the Del Detmar about them, but still have their own other universe that they operate in.Makoto Kawabata from Acid Mothers Temple and Richard Pinhas of Heldon. Julian Dicken hammers around the kit, rolling toms and smashing cymbals to give a tribal dance for the end of the world. The best way to describe their set tonight was mammoth. It built up and smashed down all before it, as if they were destroying the temples on some far-away planet and heading off out into the dark depths of space to start over again.
By the end of their set the sound was monumental — it screamed, it droned, it crashed and all the while the synth wibbled to give it that cosmic edge (and it was damn loud as well, so a big thumbs up to the Corsica sound guy). By the time the final notes were fading from this excursion to the nether regions of space the audience were wanting more. If you have not seen this band yet, catch them live, as you won’t regret it.
Teeth Of The Sea. I’ve not seen them play live for many years and their sound has changed considerably in that time. Tonight we get a tight band who are enjoying playing live and give it all they’ve got. Some looped trumpet notes herald the band to start playing; and with an almost black metal-style howl and crash in we are off. Jimmy Martin stands behind a bank of synthesizers with his guitar held firmly in hand. After some big heavy chords he plays a melodic guitar solo that at one point even reminds me a bit of Brian May — he gives the performance his all, looking like a mad heavy metal professor as he switches between guitar and synth effortlessly throughout their performance. The band sound swells — it’s at times subtle and melodic, dark and heavy and bombastic.
As I listen to them I keep getting flashes of band names pop up into my head: the synthetic tones of Coil, the motorik of Neu!, the midnight drone of Darkthrone and the guitar lead of John Cipollina. These odd factions seem to come together within Teeth of the Sea’s sound to make it a whole dimension of its own that never sounds forced or faked. Mat Colegate’s drumming crosses the boundaries between martial and Krautrock wig out; and as he stands rather than sits behind a kit, this also gives him freedom of movement throughout their show.
The band play a formidable set, each track encapsulating a band at the top of their game and not afraid to take a few chances and send the audience on a musical ride past an ever-changing landscape. This is Teeth of the Sea’s power — the way they can transform songs mid-way through into something completely different. By the end of their set the audience seem overwhelmed at witnessing two of Britain’s finest bands battle it out on stage at what was a great gig.
When I leave the venue the giant ants are gone; they have been replaced by the sweet drizzle of rain as the heat of the evening begins to cool.
-Pictures: Dave Pettit-