25.4.05

BBBlood Vs Guanoman Live Review!

Taken From http://www.geocities.com/beatsketching/gig_reviews/guano.htm
*Note the reviewer gets BBB confused with Guanoman in this review, Thanks to the guy who wrote it Guanoman & Baron Bum blood, Psychedelic Circus @ Hitchin Club 85, Sun 28th Nov 2004

Now, Club 85 has a host of regular promoters. Besides our old friends Live Circuit, their names are such as NHSPH, Rustbeard, Underdog and Psychedelic Circus. Do any of them sound too appealing? You might think the first is National Health Service Public House, but in fact it’s North Herts Ska Punk Hardcore. Psychedelic Circus, meanwhile, is a funny old one. Psychedelic Sunday has swirling patterns projected behind the night’s performers: the obvious lava lamps, the kind of tunnel vortex forever linked with Doctor Who, and some strangely bright-coloured dinosaurs. Progressive/acid/excessive rock is played on the PA. On this wet wintry night, an audience of single figures sits around waiting for the special guests, both of whom go under terrible names. It really doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? For one thing, regular readers might know my distaste for distractions from the music stage. A band and its instruments are surely aesthetically pleasing enough already, with no fancy lightshow.

It’s almost choreographed chaos when a group gets things moving... and when they finally stop. Any regular readers will also know of my enjoyment for the visceral noise often achieved at the end of rock gigs. Guitars against amps, bodies against drumkits, band against audience: that final confrontational attempt to convince a crowd of their power, or merely to revel in the fun art of destruction. Chorus, verse, all structure finished with, no need for even a tune anymore.

Tonight’s group number only two, a guy with a bass and another with, heck, some unseen machines and a min-theremin; so this duo lack the band aesthetic, and that’s not all they ignore. Apparently big on the London noise scene, anyone walking in here off the street would probably think "what the-" and walk out. What if you forgot all that trad song structure to start with?

Music stops being heard as musical, and enters the obscurist world of art. I’ve gone through my share of phonic art experience. There were concerts where the sound of a stylus and a turntable were more important than the presence of a record; where catchiness might be a bourgeois notion. It was often interesting and sometimes enjoyable. Of course, it’s quite subjective.

Improvisation as an intuitive art can by its nature take a while to get going; however, it’s good to be kept waiting once in a while. It can also be good when you're made to feel uncomfortable. At one point, the pair alternate in attempts to create the widest contrasts: so the Baron strokes out the depths of his bass, and Guanoman replies with a squeal. It’s like a conversation between two primitive creatures. There are certain sounds that seem to physically move through you, while other times you’re just waiting for something to happen. There's no beat - the duo make up their own rhythm as they go along. I usually prefer something to have just a little more structure.

But if you want to enjoy this sort of thing – and at plenty times tonight I felt like going home to do something else – while in the gig space all you can do is sit back and subject yourself to it completely. When one hum is left droning, and the projected tunnel spiralling behind comes to a sudden freeze, it’s like everything has stopped. It made for a few of the most thrilling moments I’ve felt at a gig in a while. I even laughed at the stupid dinosaurs. And I was sober! So the lightshow worked – there wasn’t much else to look at, though the musicians did wear wrestler-style masks – and it all made almost for sensory overload.

The club might like to use films to add more interest (or maybe that would be too much). As for those awful monikers, I’ve considered before why comedy names might be used by serious musicians to stop critics taking their “art” too seriously. It should deflect the over-evaluation that might have you condemned to forever play art galleries and appear only in the Wire.

No poolside photoshoots for you, Tortoise! Meanwhile Mogwai get pissed with titles like ‘Hunted By A Freak’. More power to them, and to what some might call their cathedrals of sound (!).

And well done you two sonic crusaders, Guanoman and Baron Bumblood. Or, should I say, sonic clowns?

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