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The Cosmic Dead / Snapped Ankles (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

The Lexington, London
9 September 2015

There is something about Wednesdays, something odd that doesn’t quite fit right. Wednesday is the square peg in the round hole. It seems to bring out a strangeness in the universe, as if all those planets and solar systems and galaxies out there somehow know that that it’s Wednesday.

In London town, you can tell its Wednesday night; people seem strange. They are either not drunk enough for a Friday or they have imbibed in too much stuff to try and blot out terrible Monday and Tuesday. It’s the second of these types of people that have decided to descend on The Lexington tonight to have their ears hammered by some truly out-there music.

Snapped Ankles September 2015

As I entered the venue Snapped Ankles were just taking to the stage. Dressed like a cross between Krampus and people performing a mummers play, they certainly made an arresting sight. Apart from a keyboard, a guitar and drums, they had appeared to mic up the microphone stands so that every time they were hit they made some type of glorious din. Their set bordered between far-out psychedelic ragas collapsed in on themselves in a huge racket that would shake planets from their orbits to almost introspective passages where the keyboard played a melancholy melody over proceeding, all offset by mic stand percussive rumblings and oblique noises.

At times, though, they kind of reminded me of the Pink Fairies‘ freak-out jams, even though they were very different; but for some reason I couldn’t shake this thought from my head. Their last track was a full-on powered motorik number that would have put Neu! in the shade. It was mad, marvellous and grotesquely over the top, but what a wonderful racket all delivered by a band that was a sight to behold. What’s not to like, really?

The Cosmic Dead September 2015

After the clear up of several instruments from the stage, The Cosmic Dead were ready to start their set quite promptly. Now this where the Wednesday part of the evening begin to slowly hit in. I’ve seen The Dead several times and they know how to get an audience going (see my Raw Power review), but tonight included something I wasn’t expecting.

The Cosmic Dead play a kind of out-there, psyched up, visceral, space rocking, psychedelic, edge of madness, tripped-out, head-messing, black hole-building, building-collapsing, speed-freak, biker, seventies, acid logic, brain-cell destroying, wall of noise, freak-beat, sun-exploding, 2001 sci-fi type of music. Big, heavy bass riffs power under wild synth flourishes, rolling drum patterns and lysergic guitar fugues. The sound that comes forth from the stage is almost otherworldly, like HP Lovecraft and Robert E Howard having a punch-up on mescaline. The band themselves seem like they are feeling every note they play as they shake their hair and go wild, like the music has control over them and won’t let go.

The Cosmic Dead September 2015

It was about three-quarters through the set when the first foot kicked me in the head. I turned around to see a woman being carried aloft by a few people and almost constantly nearly being dropped as she was flung around the heads of the crowd at the front. Moshing at a Cosmic Dead concert — well, I never; this was unexpected. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw moshing at a gig. Then more people appeared to be borne into the air, and a guy managed to kick my head before landing on top of my gig buddy Stefania.

The music slowly made its way into a chaotic ending with fed-back wild guitar and manic drumming, and by now the audience had grabbed the live microphones and were screaming down them. Next, synth player Lewis Cook launched himself into the audience and was carried aloft like some exalted king. As the band finished, the sound of smashing glass onstage meant that another audience member seemed to have landed as gracefully as an emu.

The Cosmic Dead September 2015

That was it; another wonderfully unpredictable and totally mad Cosmic Dead gig came crashing to a halt. I left the venue hot and sweaty, half knocked-out by the music and people’s footwear. I boarded the tube and two guys had a fight in my carriage, so the train had to be stopped; at the overland station two women abused a burger waitress, one throwing a shoe at her. I wondered what madness had happened to humanity in the last couple of hours.

And then I remembered that it was Wednesday.

-Gary Parsons-

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