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Laibach (live at The Forum) and The Ex / Bamboo (live at The Hope And Ruin)

London, 12 April 2016 Brighton, 13 April 2016

Laibach live at The Forum April 2016 (Picture: Agata Urbaniak)I went to two gigs in two days for Freq. They were unrelated, possibly, but worth pointing out that gigs are experiential things — it’s often more about the being there than what was played and such. That or I’m too lazy to write two separate reviews, so collapsing them into one with some spiel about commonalities is a rhetorical feint.

But before I do that, just a quick couple of lines on The Ex‘s support, Bamboo — not a band I’d come across before, but doing a fine line in big pop numbers with synth, heavily-effected banjo and drums. Their drummer for the evening, Andy Pyne,

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The Ex / Trash Kit / Afework Nigussie / Terrie Ex and George Haddow / Arend B Blauw (live at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar)

Trash Kit live November 2014Brighton 10 December 2014

Gig-craft. It’s a tricky thing. Something that’s a perennial irritation for me is the way you’ll get a touring band and three-five clones of that band. I always have this problem with things like grindcore gigs where you just get five of the same band. Which is great, for about two acts, then I get bored. SO one of the things about this gig was that it was really well-programmed. Dutch-language singer-songwriter stuff, fidgety improv, Ethiopian songs, something I’m going to vaguely call “dance-ish music with guitars” and The Ex. The latter of which I’m going to assume you’re familiar with.

What The Ex seem to have done here is, rather than buy into the idea that everyone wants

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The Ex with Brass Unbound – Enormous Door

The Ex

The Ex with Brass Unbound - Enormous DoorTo say that Enormous Door is a classic Ex record, combined with a mighty Afrobeat brass section, would be accurate, but it would also be a copout. What, you might ask, comprises a classic Ex record? Well, one would expect furious, churning polyrhythms, courtesy of drum windmill Katherina Barnefield, married to Andy Moor‘s atonal, cheese-grater guitar, with alternating barked/sung and sing-song nursery rhyme vocals, typically of the anarchist/post-Marxist school. See, The Ex are probably the most brilliant scintillation to explode from Crass’ roman candle, changing everybody’s perception of what it meant to be a punk. Free jazz, folk songs, spoken-word poetry, performance art… anything goes. You make yr own rules.

The first paragraph of the press release

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