“No sooner is Christmas in the bin than we’re thinking about Easter.”
The pine needle outlines tell me the bin men have finally disposed of the Christmas tree corpses that have besieged my street for a week. I’m Febreze-ing my bollocks-off this frosty Friday the 13th, because as chance would have it, I’m sat only in these pants, and last night saw fit to damn them to the stench of ‘Kaltenberg Hell’. Why don’t they arbitrarily randomize the smell of Febreze? This stink is an insinuation of filth. Much the same as Hospitals seem like they’re frantically distracting your olfactics from their clandestine death.
It’s refreshing to be away from the inner circle of the City Centre’s scene & herd – the overambitious bollocks of atrocity boys and cupcake-baking girls…but then again, this is the bohemian outpost, of which I’m swiftly reminded by a streetlamp in knitwear as I make my way down Wilbraham Road.
Dulcimer is dully simmering as a band sound checks upstairs, attempting to approximate the date (“1-2…1…1-2″) and Thursday night pints are sunk in its cosy corners amid handovers in conversation. Bypassing the vacant ticket table at the top of the stairs I inadvertently eavesdrop on the start time being pushed back to 9 0′clock from the stated ’8′. When I come around to the idea of descending for last minute cigarettes and drinks, I think it best to introduce myself to the guy now manning the desk, who identifies himself as Paul from ‘Outer Dark’, and offers an outstretched hand along with his thanks for coming down. My cynicism insists this is an act of pandering to ‘the press’, but is seemingly sincere enough to make me hope his band isn’t shit.
Having minus’d my life by 11 minutes while Kitty Saros was at the bar pledging her allegiance to the cirrhosis sorority after pleading free drinks from the bar after some unrepentant cunt vanquished her vodka, its time for another insinuation of villainy as we rendezvous with…
“This song’s called ‘My Pet Goat’”.
Rather than the menace suggested by the all-but-naked, pink skinned, cigar-chomping nemesis of Evergreen Forest, the now audience-plumped upstairs is enveloped by the harmonic fretboard slaps and sit-atop-clobber-box of tonight’s stripped-down Cyril Snear, swaying with the mystical whimsy of a time signature reminiscent of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’ with similarly earnest, if less adventurous, vox frosting-it. Skinny Arms gee-tar man ironically has a ‘Fear and Loathing’ tee on, with it’s Steadman illustration of our narcotic-Don Quixote & Gonzo-Sancho Panza cannonballing toward the rollercoaster ride of the undulating gradient of Vegas’ skyline, which is at odds with the temptation to cosy-up to bobos in the redundant bass drum’s muting duvet & pillow combo.
Outer Dark look like Middle class white guys who profess to like Tom Waits, and shake their flaky heads at sacrilegious Cookie Monster comparisons. The opening song is a vociferous behemoth reminiscent of Mastodon, with intermittent funky Jazz schisms and underlying Pearl Jam lamentations. On the whole, they make a sound that simpleton’s think-of as ‘Grunge’.
A bandaged hand whose brother I shook, strangles the fretboard and neck of a Gibson SG. Funky stop/start nipple-high bass pulsations are wrought by a guy that looks like Jeffrey Treblezine to whom I owe a month-overdue review of The Fall’s ‘Ersatz GB’ and is freaking me out. Everything slides into a Roni Size avalanche of overabundant beats, before cascading into ‘Morning Bell’ skibbidy-bop catch-up drumming. The arpeggiated guitar riff Goosy Ganders upstairs, downstairs, while the keyboard tinkles like streetlights on rainy Rhodes.
‘Outer Dark’ aren’t my cup of tea, but tea isn’t my cup of black coffee. Outer Dark aren’t as outré or noir as their name suggests, but frenetically caffeinated enough to be of interest…
…having said that, while they’re winding-up their set, I’m distracted by Adam from ‘Weird Era’ who is front and centre, mentally dissecting them for himself. I’ll spare you the metaphorical cock-suck I undertook and just tell you that Adam says: Yes. Yes they are.
Like Jesus, I’m late for the start of Easter. While I’m wondering if that duct taped guitar strap on the lead singer’s Fender Jaguar is really necessary or just a tokenistic Indie Rock affectation, stage left’s Merzbow T-Shirted guy Greenwoods his guitar into a Three Mile Island of a sonic cacophony courtesy of what he’s learned from his Japanese noisemeister idol, undercutting the coolly crafted Indie Pop the song once was, and everything vapourises into cloudy screams reminiscent of ‘Yrself Is Steam‘, until I no longer give a fuck about the duct tape’s integrity, as I’m blown away. I don’t know what else to say. Easter held my attention hostage with unknown melodies underscored with skilfully invoked explosions, ploughing tinnitus into us as guitarist and bassist physically shifted their most unwieldy speaker to the front of the stage as the showstopper.
Easter is, like, a festival of Death & Resurrection which has been supplanted by chocolate eggs, which presumably are a metaphor for the shit we feed our children, i.e. the fairytale of a well meaning Biblical hippy whose depressing execution needed a happy ending tacked onto it so we don’t get all Emo over the futility of our existence.
‘Easter’, resurrected my faith in Rock N’ Roll or something…that’s all I’ve got for my showstopper.
Hey, it’s better than saying I was chained to a radiator with a stiletto in the testicles.
But I did spill beer on my leg, honest.
Photos: Kitty Saros
Concert promoted by The Oryx