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Laibach (live at O2 Academy Islington)

London 23 November 2017

Laibach live November 2017Dunkel. Dunkel ist die Nacht“.i

It is most certainly dark tonight, the evenings now well and truly drawn. The winter solstice approaches. And, as is customary for such astronomical phenomena, we are gathering together tonight to celebrate by watching the rise of the strange, intense sun that is Laibach.

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Trupa Trupa – Jolly New Songs

Blue Tapes and X-Ray / Ici d’ailleurs

Trupa Trupa - Jolly New SongsFor most people of certain age, the name of Gdańsk, Poland’s principle seaport on the Baltic, will forever bring to mind scratchy newsreel footage of world-historical importance: vast grey shipyards, cold hairy-looking men smoking furiously and wearing donkey jackets and, perhaps most vividly of all, legendary moustache-wearer Lech Wałęsa signing the Gdańsk Agreement of 1980

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Howard Jones – Best 1983-2017

Cherry Red

Howard Jones - Best 1983-2017

High Wycombe, 1977.

Thirty miles north-west of central London, famous for its illustrious furniture-making history,1 Wycombe has always been a voraciously music-hungry town. A strong local music scene took root some years ago, but viewed nationally, the town is still renowned more for its notable venues than for the visibility of its indigenous talent.

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Kraftwerk (live at the Royal Albert Hall)

London 22 June 2017

Kraftwerk live June 2017Hindsight can be a famously cruel opponent.

On the freezing New Year’s Eve of 1961, The Beatles drove all the way down to London from their native Liverpool amidst swirling snowstorms and treacherous roads. The following day, whilst the nation sipped delicately at some Alka-Seltzer and nursed its collective sore head, The Fab Four fired up their Vox amplifiers

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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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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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Richard Pinhas – Reverse

Bureau B

Richard Pinhas - ReverseAllons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé.” When the musical “Marseillaise” is sung, there can surely be no more fitting embodiment of Gallic savoir faire than Richard Pinhas. Philosopher, guitarist, innovator, electronic music pioneer – his visage is perfectly placed to flutter aloft on the bloody banners raised above the barricades.

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Senyawa (live at Café OTO)

London 17 October 2016

Senyawa live October 2016It’s going to be very difficult to describe Senyawa in words. What follows will probably contain muddled metaphors, chaotic similes, idiotic expostulations, expletives, wild imagery, desperate comparisons, upholstery by Zachery, knick-knackery by Thackery, Terpsichore by Dickery and dickery by Dock. Younger readers – or those of a nervous disposition – may want to look away now.

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All Them Witches (live at The Scala)

London 4 October 2016

All Them Witches live at The Scala October 2016The Man Whose Head Expanded. Not in a good Mark E Smith kind of way, though. Oh no. Sadly not. In a kids-back-at-school, viral-laboratory, I’d-like-to-just-lie-down-in-this-ditch kind of way. Taking the bus down to The Scala, I wonder how long it will be until my eyeballs just pop out due to the pressure from my sinuses. But, Freq reviewers are hopefully made of sterner stuff, and so in a bravura display of stiff upper head, I marshal myself off the 73 and into the venue.

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The Master Musicians of Jajouka (live at The Barbican)

Milton Court Theatre, London 29 September 2016

Master Musicians Of Jajouka live September 2016A crucial international fixture, and Team Freq is in utter disarray: star striker Rodham-Heaps out of action, midfield playmaker Nickells injured (his silky skills laid low after a night of drinking at Acid Mothers Temple), and others all unavailable for selection. And so, in a bold decision, the Freqmanager1 decides to bring yours truly off the subs bench and into the starting line-up. Taking my inspiration from Ole ‘Super-Sub’ Solskjaer, my aim is to come on and change the course of the game decisively.

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Various – I’m A Freak, Baby: A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych and Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-72

Cherry Red

Various - I'm A Freak, BabyEarly on in Give the Anarchist a Cigarette, Mick Farren’s majestic – and comic – memoir (its early years set against the growing pains of British youth culture), he relates an incident that took place whilst visiting his friends Paul and Beryl in Brighton one grey bank holiday weekend in the mid-Sixties.

Sitting on a wall outside the Metropole Hotel, amidst the hand-to-hand combat and full-on deckchairs, chains and bottles carnage of mods versus rockers apocalypse, the trio were approached all day by roving bands of bloodied and beleaguered participants from both factions

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Spirit Of Moondog (live at Black Box)

Münster 29 May 2016

Moondog steleIn a quiet and undisturbed corner of the Zentralfriedhof (Main Cemetery) in Münster, there stands an elegant, tapering stone stele, atop which is a death mask so wonderfully detailed and realistic it seems that the eyes might at any moment open slowly, like an image from Dennis Potter’s Cold Lazarus come to life beneath the blue Westfalen sky. Foregrounded against the thick green hedge behind it, and surrounded by a colourful riot of flowers, it is a beautiful spot. Here, amidst the birdsong and the obsessively well-tended greenery, lies American expatriate Louis Hardin, better known to the world by a moniker adopted in honour of his trusty, yet lunar-affected, hound: Moondog.

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Iggy Pop (live at the Royal Albert Hall)

London 13 May 2016

Blow my cool. Bite my lip. See me through on my death trip.

Once the needle had finally run out from the closing grooves of “Death Trip”, the concluding song of Iggy and The Stooges’ 1973 white-hot masterpiece Raw Power, there was no shortage of occasions when it looked like the title was truly a prophecy rather than merely youthful braggadocio.

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The Flamin’ Groovies (live at The Scala)

London 25 April 2016

Just as everyone thought that Spring had really, finally, definitively arrived, fresh and rosy-fingered, Winter once more puts its cold, cold hand back onto our shoulders. Arriving at The Scala (always redolent with memories of all-night Eighties quadruple bills and marathon Shock Around the Clock gorefests1) it feels more like January again than practically May.

Inside, I stake a place at the front of the upper tier, crack open a ridiculously over-priced can of San Miguel, and survey the scene. Faded nostalgic ghost films flicker across my Kopfkino as I picture the tatty auditorium as it used to be in years gone by: the cinema cat walking across my lap during a showing of From The Velvets to Voidoids; the seat I was in for the last film I ever saw here, preposterous Greek “experimental independent surrealist underground art film” Singapore Sling, about incestuous mother and

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Caravan (live at the Union Chapel)

Caravan live at the Union Chapel March 2016London 14 March 2016

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, the Jules Rimet still gleamed in the trophy cabinets of old Albion, Patrick McGoohan was recognisable to the nation as Danger Man John Drake rather than some arsy bloke being pursued across a Welsh beach by a weird white ball, and Harold Wilson was the dynamic, thrusting young politician thrilling the body politic. Around the same time, although Swinging London was grabbing all the headlines and covers of Time magazine, the Canterbury scene was also a seriously happening event.

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