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Akron/Family (live)

Akron/Family give it some consideration (click for larger image)The Spitz, London 21st April 2006

Akron/Family are not from Ohio, nor are they apparently related to each other. They are also sometimes Michael Gira‘s band Angels Of Light. Tonight at The Spitz they might be themselves, though along the way they play up a storm of other identities, genres and musical forms.

The band are also somewhat hirsute, though not at this stage in their UK tour much more hairy than their crowd, whose beardiness is omnipresent. Somehow throughout a set which lasts well over two hours, they manage to achieve the sweatiest of bodies in a band who remain seated for the large part of the gig. One of the key elements in the Akron/Family schtick is keeping the audience guessing as to just what they might play next. Opening with a rising cacophony played on

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Morning Bride/Imogen/Carmen Rosa (live)

Amity (click for larger image) (pic: Ian Barratt)The Spitz, London 18th July 2005

A balmy, dirty London night finds me climbing the spiral at The Spitz to see Morning Bride solely for this review, or souly for my own pleasure. There is no way that humans can survive long in this heat, or so I imagine. It’s raining outside, a slow tease rain that isn’t going to refresh so much as make sure my fellow audience members smell damp on top of sweaty.

Ah well, The Spitz makes up one hundred fold for their lack of air quality with their super listening quality sound and an engineer who knows which knob does what. Another credit is that I have a little candlelit table, a feature of The Spitz. They don’t have enough of them, and I had to move mine to just the right spot, but

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Eddison Woods/Rothko (live at The Spitz)

London 24 March 2004

A bit like starting a notebook backwards, I rush in after taking a stupidly slow and expensive cab ride, barely in time to see the last beautiful few moments of Rothko. Theirs is a sound I can recognize from way down the stairs as I run up and through the doors. Frances Morgan‘s violin is good and loud tonight, like passioned crying — just as I feel a proper violin should be. It is not enough, these few minutes, and I am so sorry to have hit too much traffic. I wish they’d play again and just for me. Rothko’s music is always like this: lonely and dark and so soothingly gorgeous; very much like an unrequited night on one’s own. Others around me comment and I know I have missed out on an especially strong performance of Rothko’s most recent line up.

Now a craft

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Acid Mothers Collective: – Guru + Zero – Tsurubami – Pardons – Kawabata Makoto/Salvatore (live at the Kosmische Club)

The Spitz, London 5 June 2003

When the Acid Mothers Collective come to town, a few things are certain – extended improvisations, guest appearances (tonight’s honourable psychonaut is none other than Daevid Allen), antics and japes at the keyboards, and hair. Lots and lots of hair: not just on the heads of Makoto Kawabata and Higashi Hiroshi, what with the Camembert Electrique crowd out in force, some spectacular mullets are in evidence in the capacity crowd too.

Salvatore (Click for larger image)Hirsute fans aside, the evening opens with the shorn Norwegian Kosmische favourites Salvatore, whose progression beyond Post-Rock finds them riding on solid grooves accompanied by rippling melodies. Their instrumental glide is usually right at home, but tonight their performance lacks a continuous sparkle, breezing through on a pleasant churn of electronics and assorted guitar, basses and drums without really ever lifting off.


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Icebreaker International/Appliance (live)

Icebreaker International @ The SpitzThe Spitz, London 7 June 2001 ApplianceThe Spitz tends to look different every time I go there. Tonight it is a late arrival just in time to see Appliance play their version of Krautrock-inspired Electronica. Projections on small screens around the room show Rand McNally maps of the Great Lakes areas of the US, Chicago Art Institute-like photos of fall/winter nature scenes, and stage backdrop of goldfish tank. Appliance seem to have a healthy loyal following here for support. The bloke on vocals has a nice singing voice and they range their own way into sounding a bit Jesus & Mary Chain; fuzzy, lightly motor-ish, but on the whole, uninspiring. I have got to face the million flight walk downstairs to the loo before Icebreaker International, which is not the easiest task,

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I/O: Aidsbot 2000/Bourbonese Qualk/Nish/Crowd Formation (live)

Aidsbot 2000 The Spitz, London 26 April 2001

The I/O event at The Spitz was a little bit of a nerd-fest (meant in the best possible way), as several generations of audio technophiles opened up their various laptop computers and let rip with the best in glitchry they could muster for the occasion. To a shifting realtime backdrop of manipulated visuals, the fizzes, pops and rumbles of digital experimentation shuffled around the venue like so much modem download noise.

Crowd FormationThree chaps and their PowerBooks and mixers were on, with the screen helpfully identifying them as Crowd Formation, and it’s a good thing there was some visual stimulation too. As exciting and innovative as software music can be, without the techno-psychedelic projections, the experience would once again have been as interesting as peering through the windows

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Dry & Heavy (live)

The Spitz, London 24th July 2000

First off, any further mention of the fact that Dry & Heavy are a Japanese Reggae band can largely be dispensed with; so they are Japanese, not Jamaican. Well, there are Reggae and Dub groups from all over now – the Czech Republic, the Basque Country, Texas even. Other than to say of course that this particular set have got the format sussed pretty much completely, apart from maybe the boonie hats some of them seem to have adopted as a kind of identifying headgear. Well, that’s possibly quite Japanese.

Anyhow, after along wait for the band to show up on stage, during which time the arriving trickle of audience numbers are ably entertained by Dry & Heavy’s label stalwart Pete Holdsworth and his collection of classic Reggae and Ska vinyl both old and new, they finally arrive to the short but enthusiastic introduction

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B.J. Cole and Luke Vibert (live)

Stop The Panic The Spitz, London 28th February 2000

O! if all nights out could be so entertaining! A New Orleans style jam session set up between avuncular B.J. Cole (occasional collaborator with Spiritualized) and chin-pierced Electro Bohemian Luke Vibert (sometimes Wagon Christ and Plug) and a couple of friends to boot. And not New Orleans because of the Jazz like you might be thinking, but because of the unity, the compiling of talents from such different discipines, because of how much fun they had while doing it. A mournful and then playfull ignition between friends, so driving with bleepsome Technoid beats and crunchy Drum and Bass underbeats, the pedal steel pulsing like a Juno and bongos looming. The Southwestern, the south Pacific, south of obvious, south of dreaming, and just south of playland. Cole and Vibert are soon joined onstage by sharp-suited Bobby Valentino with his dynamic fiddle to

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