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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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Purson (live at The Lexington)

London 15 December 2016

Purson live December 2016 -0Winter in Britain in 2016 is grey, dreary affair, the trains are on strike nearly everyday, the post office is on strike and now you can’t even get away from it all as the staff on the airplanes are on strike. What is needed is the wonderful colourful psychedelic landscapes that only Purson can create to brighten up a dull winter’s day. There is, however, just one problem…

2016 has been the year that great music suffered. Apart from the deaths of legends like Bowie and Keith Emerson etc, etc, several good bands did not survive the year either, including Virginia Monti’s wonderful Psychedelic Witchcraft. Unfortunately Purson will not be spreading their wonderful music into 2017 as tonight’s show sadly is their final concert.

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Low / Kat Hawkins / Erik (live at St George’s Hall)

Low live December 2016

Bristol 7 December 2016

St George’s Hall in Bristol is one of the city’s finest venues, a church set in a lofty position halfway up Park Street, this evening looking splendid in backlit winter gloom. Inside, the stage was lit in red, mysterious yet comforting. I half expected to see Laura Palmer come out to meet us.

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Islam Chipsy + EEK / Adrena Adrena / Imboredofbastards (live at Dictionary Pudding)

The Hope and Ruin, Brighton 29 November 2016

Imboredofbastards live November 2016Imboredofbastards do some gallant opening of tonight’s proceedings — a one-man noise + objects + processing thing that, were it a carpet, would have a most curious weave. There’s an amount of textural stuff interwoven with rhythmic elements and then, every now and then, a swoopy noise that manages to make me feel like there’s swimming pool of ants ostentatiously forgetting about gravity in my left ear.

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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing / Andrew O’Neill (live at the O2 Academy Islington)

London 18 November 2016

Andrew O'Neill live November 2016

Men guitarist Andrew O’Neill opens the show, an amiable, affable presence beneath his comedy black metal goatskull backdrop. His is a fascinating cocktail of comedy — the gentle absurdism of an Eddie Izzard or Ross Noble shot through with a pitch-black streak and edged with a harder political sensibility, all filtered through the lens of Heavy Fucking Metal.

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Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh / Liberez (live at The Cube)

Peter Brötzmann live November 2016Bristol Sunday 20 November 2016

Blimey, what an action-packed night, Bristol was heaving with musical busyness, Microdeform playing the Kino, Circuit des Yeux at The Anson Rooms and the Arnolfini hosting Les Diaboliques, all spinning out on same night — if I hadn’t have already committed to this Cube show, I’d be spoilt for alternatives. Anyways it was brilliant to be back at The Cube, haven’t been here since its recent refurb and so glad to see none of the reinventions have displaced any of its yesteryear charm.

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Dinosaur Jr / Wild Style Lion (live at Motion)

Bristol 14 November 2016

 Dinosaur Jr live November 2016A revolving blue police light welcomes us to the stage at the cold and cavernous Motion. I puposefully had not looked anything up about Wild Style Lion, so knew not what to expect. Their setup was parked in front of Murph‘s drums with their logo emblazoned on the front and was small enough to be wheeled away afterwards.

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The Vintage Caravan / Dead Lord (live at The Underworld)

London 13 November 2016

The Vintage Caravan live November 2016The last time I saw The Vintage Caravan play, they were promoting their first album and supporting Blues Pills on an evening that saw both bands give their all. Tonight, as I made my way to the subterranean delights of The Underworld in Camden, I had already made up my mind that there would be no such competition this time and that the headliners would probably cross the finish line well ahead of the support band.

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Kristin Hersh (live at The Lantern)

Bristol 8 November 2016

Kristin Hersh live November 2016This was an intimate show, just Kristin Hersh laying herself bare – furnished with a few self-released books and a shiny electric guitar. Last time I saw her live was just as intimate, in a small, vaulted church off Park Street, where she delivered a stripped-down acoustic shindig full of wonder. That harrowing encore satisfaction of “Delicate Cutters” is still creeping the personal archives some twenty-two years later.

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Swans / Anna von Hausswolff (live at Paloma)

Nîmes 2 November 2016

Anna von Hausswolff live October 2016Utilising a 12-string guitar, an array of keyboards and driving, cursive songs belted out like both Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil gone epically, darkly coldwave, Anna von Hausswolff and her band combine big, beating drums with a desert swing and a huge bass swell charged with evocative dread.

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Before Victoria / B-Movie Romance / Martha Makes Mistakes (live at The Islington)

Before Victoria live October 2016

London 21 October 2016

As the nights draw in in Old London Town, it seems everyone’s ill. The photographer, the replacement photographer, half the musicians… but that’s not going to stop anyone having a raucous old time at the debut live showing of Marc Burrows‘s Regency-punk outfit Before Victoria in a small though tastefully-appointed venue at the back of The Islington pub in, well, Islington.

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Hypnopazūzu / The Stargazer’s Assistant (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

The Union Chapel, London 22 October 2016

Hypnopazūzu live October 2016Lovely to be back at the Union Chapel again, without doubt one of the jewel venues of London. The vivid bruises of coloured light curving all that gothic finery, spot-lit chandeliers transformed into floating pentagrams. Just looking up at the vaulted ceiling was awesome in itself. You could say this was the perfect pitch for tonight’s esoteric expectations. I saw Current 93 here a few years back and it was made all the more special because of this fact.

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Swans (live at Islington Assembly Rooms)

London 14 October 2016

Swans live October 2016Swans are a strange, beautiful and terrifying beast, a bit like that white royal waterfowl whose name escapes me but can break your arm with one beat of its mighty wing; but with shorter necks. And tonight sees the second of their London performances on the UK leg of what frontman Michael Gira says will be the last outing for their current incarnation.

So hopes are high, especially given his choice of splitting their London gig into two nights in a smaller venue, the intimate and alarmingly posh Islington Assembly Hall. Last time I saw them, at the Roundhouse, the size of the venue and some dodgy sound left me feeling faintly disappointed; although disappointment is a relative term

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Goat (live at The Coronet )

London 18 October 2016

Goat live October 2016“This is what happens when a band you love gets really popular”, my friend says to me as we enter The Coronet Theatre, which seems to be already bursting at the seams with people. The Coronet is an awkward venue anyway, with what seem like labyrinths of corridors in the building leading you to nowhere in particular, so trying to get to where you want to be can be a tad difficult.

And where I want to be at this moment is as close to the stage as possible

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