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White Hills/One Unique Signal (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

One Unique Signal live Sept 2014Corsica Studios, London
23 September 2014

So we’re back again for round two — the second night in a row at London‘s tiny but perfectly-formed Corsica Studios, this time to see space-rock reprobates White Hills and One Unique Signal. And there will be volume. Oh yes, there will be volume. Lots and lots of lovely, lovely volume (say this in the voice of Neil Kinnock‘s Spitting Image puppet for best results).

One Unique Signal live Sept 2014

The first providers of this volume are One Unique Signal, of whom my first thought is that they are terrifyingly young. But this is swept into insignificance on a wave of big phat (and fat) bass, providing a properly sleazy backdrop for the guitar shenanigans that are taking place at the top end. In their “quieter” moments — quieter obviously being a very relative term indeed in this context — there are elements of Sonic Youth, and on the vocals there’s a touch of Curtis (Ian, not Stigers or Mayfield, although I now want to hear what a Curtis Mayfield-fronted psych-garage noise band would sound like). And then they lock into a properly motorik groove, and all of a sudden it sounds like Loop doing Can, only not really like what it ACTUALLY sounds like when Loop do Can, even if it is just as awesome. Extended mantric jams are clearly the order of the day with this bunch, although I could have done with another ten minutes.

White Hills live Sept 2014White Hills live Sept 2014

And then it’s time for White Hills, who I haven’t seen for… ooh… quite a lot of years, not since they supported Copey at Koko. They come on all shiny PVC and glitter to an intro of Hawkwind-esque bleeps and squirts, and the overall visual impression is of the Cramps jamming with Alice Cooper and Kiss. And then we have lift-off, as the whole thing shoots into space on a kick-ass riff and a wash of reverb. This actually IS what drugs are like. This is what ALL THE DRUGS ARE LIKE.

White Hills live Sept 2014

White Hills live Sept 2014

They’re the kind of band who seem like they’re playing on the front of a spaceship shouting into the void, like a really nifty, and slightly cross, cosmic hood ornament. It’s the kind of big sound that’s best appreciated in a tiny space. Like this tiny space, for example. When it all comes to a crescendo and becomes a bit too much, it’s feels like you’re living in a great, lost Jack Kirby comic about The Stooges going into space. It’s magnificent.

And when you come back to earth you can’t shake the nagging feeling that you’ve brought something back with you. Possibly tinnitus.

Words: -Justin Farrington-
Pictures: -Dave Pettit-

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