Monday, June 01, 2009

Noise to signal

Like many of yourselves, our weekend was spent in a beer garden. It's just that the bar adjoining had a weekend of top notch live music, the now biannual White Noise (Summer) shindig a three day opportunity to bring together the East Midlands' foremost new musical talent in Leicester's Firebug, all in aid of the LOROS hospice care charity. The weekend, no doubt helped by the weather was a stunning success - we hear £500 was made just in walkups on Friday alone, which means a) in a 100 capacity room health and safety need to know and b) even with Kasabian coincidentally launching their tour with three nights just across the city there's a real appetite around the area for this stuff, an extraordinary number of people especially for Leicester turning up to indulge and enjoy. And the artists responded in kind, with far more often than not sets that stepped up several gears from whenever we've seen them before. Some of those we saw we've written about in the past - Maybeshewill, whose John Helps co-organised the whole thing, headlined the Friday with a spectacularly full-on set culminating in a full stage invasion and John's... let's be kind and call it stagediving, while our failed weekend stalking targets Minnaars brought a proper heavy, sweaty dance party on the Saturday, after the high water mark groundwork set by our lieges Love Ends Disaster! just before. Before Maybeshewill Her Name Is Calla's coruscatingly innovative post-rock soared even when faced with the rare sight of heckling by clarinet, while And So I Watch You From Afar lived up to every bit of hype their instrumental heavy riffage has generated, and then some. And the Sunday, which included most of the straight-out experimental types, got moved downstairs to the bar proper. That sent a lot of casual single-Sunday-teatime-pint customers fleeing.

Other highlights emerged, for which we turn to the tie-in CD (which we don't think you can order online yet) for illustration. If Death Of London didn't exist it might have been necessary for some parallel universe Steve Albini to invent them. They find their own medium between the spare tautness of Shellac and the skullcrushing riffs of Big Black, with elements of Part Chimp and McLusky. They've been around in various forms, most notably TEAM, for a while but we suspect it's only now they're finding their metier. Plus frontman and White Noise co-organiser Scott rocks the exact same beard as Tim Harrington. These things are important.

Death Of London - White Wire

Turning it down a bit, Actionforce deal in cracked new wave, using keyboard loops and samples to bolster their electronic far-reaching ambitions laced with a certain etheriality. They're difficult to stylistically pin down, but think Bandwagonesque-era Teenage Fanclub, early 90s Flaming Lips, Grandaddy and the Super Furries and you're approaching it.

Actionforce - From Work To Eternity

Also want to give a special mention to Peter Wyeth, who uses loopstations, pedals and special tunings to give an otherworldly feel to his hushed acoustic Jeremy Warmsley-esque songs. He mentions Mark Hollis of Talk Talk in his influences, which is perfectly acceptable. We'd recommend checking him out, especially live. Also good to see Misterlee back on the live circuit, now down to just a guitarist for accompaniment but still with the full box of echo tricks and sounding like the only problem he had with Trout Mask Replica was its too naked commercialism. Plenty of people use feedback as a noise weapon, but we'd never seen it used as a dub instrument before. And then he finished with a nearly straight-up cover of Bonkers, which we're not sure anyone else recognised.

Now, if you'll excuse us, we have some recovering to do.

Oh, except, speaking of live music in Leicester... yes, we did say there'd be a lot of this, but the gig blog has been updated with a WeGotTickets link.

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