This was not a typical gig, it was not even a gig but a real-life experience inside a surreal dimension! The evening had a giant baby, a pink ‘dog’, a (bare assed) bin-man, a terrifying ‘cleaner’, fierceness, darkness, heaviness in sound and many equally important and ‘freaky’ guests. It was none of these elements that was responsible for the atmosphere of the evening on its own, but their interactions and combined effect. But let’s take things from the beginning…

“We’re so fucking loud that anyone who comes to our shows is just subjected to such a level of loudness and occult ideas…that it forces capitalism out of this magic space…” (Taman Shud extract from an interview)

Taman Shud, opened the evening on time and offered a show that was almost shamanic in its atmosphere. The band revealed a unique combination of original elements in the arrangement as well as in the delivery of the vocals. It was neither the passion of each of the four musicians nor their complete immersion in the music that captured my attention. One of the reasons I was so captivated by Taman Shud, was the fact that the lead vocals were coming from the very back of the stage, courtesy of the skilled drummer Nick, while Greg (guitar) at the front of the stage was providing backing vocals! I don’t think I have ever witnessed such an arrangement before and its actual effect could only be fully appreciated after moving to a short distance from the stage so that the sound could completely envelop me and fill the space.

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r-8381428-1460646507-1375-jpegIt’s been a while since I last saw PJ Harvey perform live and a lot has changed since that day at a Rockwave Festival in Athens of Greece. Both her music and her stage appearance seem to have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Her albums are now big productions with more musicians in her band than ever before and her live concerts have become much more theatrical. Compared to the past, PJ Harvey has changed the nature of her movements and the way she responds to her songs 1and this has added more layers to the lyrics. I couldn’t help but notice that her gigs lately give out the impression that one listens to a whole orchestra especially because all the musicians are multi-instrumentalists. Come to think of it, the whole world has changed since the early 2000 and PJ Harvey has proven that she has very strong social reflexes and always finds clever ways of incorporating social critique in her work (i.e. lyrics, videos).

A few days before the gig I received an email from the venue, informing me that there will be no support band(s) for this gig, yet when I arrived at O2 Brixton Academy, I realized that there was also no dedicated DJ for the evening. Doors had opened on time, at 19.00 that was, but until 21.00 when PJ Harvey appeared on stage, everyone was waiting in complete silence…I am sure something better could have been done there.

The time was now 20.40 and the crowd that had completely filled the venue, had started to become impatient (especially because the announced stage time was 20.30) so there was a little bit of shouting, persistent clapping and a shared feeling of excitement. I was kind of worried because PJ Harvey, in my experience at least, has been famous for being punctual and it was now 20.55 and there was no sign of her. By the time I had finished that thought, the lights turned off completely and the deep sound of drums presaged the procession of the band on stage.

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CAFÉ OTO has consistently exposed its members and devotees to pioneering music and acts that are artistically difficult to understand by conventional standards. Sudden Infant, Les Énervès and Dario Sanfilippo with SEC_ were no exception. Sudden Infant together with Merzbow who took Cafe Oto’s stage a few days earlier, are probably two of the most disturbing and ‘hard to swallow’ acts that an unfamiliar audience can come across…or so I thought.

30But let’s take things from the beginning. The evening started at 9 o’clock with Les Énervès, who, facing the stage offered us a deconstructed, almost cubist in style, sonic experience. Their set consisted mostly of a series of syncopated sounds without any vocals or musicality. The result was an extremely fragmented sound and felt as if someone was trying to fix faulty equipment. Both Giulio (Nacera) and Ron (Grieco) were manipulating sounds through computers but overall what I heard seemed to have neither a rhythm nor a logic behind it. This absence of rhythm seemed to almost prevent the audience from truly engaging with what was being played. The duo has released their debut album entitled ‘Estate’ in .mp3 format, earlier this year.

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Sudden Infant- The interview

Posted: 26th November 2016 by blaue-rosen in Live reviews,Interviews
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Following a captivating gig by (now full band) Sudden Infant a.k.a Joke, Christian and Alex kindly spent some time with Blauerosen to discuss the changes that Sudden Infant has gone through the past three years, their next album, their plans for the future, art, creativity, London and Berlin.

a-75331-1400673614-8383-jpegBlauerosen: The name of the band consists of two words that most people would be frightened to pronounce together because they bring to mind a disturbing situation (i.e. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Was this a way to filter your audience in the sense that, those people who wouldn’t freak out by the name would be the people who would be open to your work and the rest not?

Joke: Yes, you are referring to the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This is actually where the name of the band comes from. I was playing in a hardcore punk band in the 80s and then I became a father, I was 24 years old it was the end of the 80s so I stopped with the hardcore bands and I wanted to spend more time with my family but I didn’t want to stop making music. I was really interested at the time in industrial and experimental music. I love Throbbing Gristle, Suicide etc so I started my own project  when my son was born and I was looking for a name, of course I was reading a lot at the time about sudden infant death syndrome but I thought that yes it is, a very hard name, it’s something shocking…I took just the first two words as I didn’t want to name my project Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and then I put them in a different context when I started  my solo work but also ‘sudden infant’ can mean something different, like an adult person that becomes an infant suddenly, doing stupid things or whatever and it is not only connected to this negative situation, it can have a lot of positive meanings as well…so the name has stayed all these years and the whole project changed into what you experienced tonight as a band since 3 years now with Christian and Alex…

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The only way you can attend a gig of David Tibet’s is by going through some sort of meditation in order to prepare yourself for the energy that will envelop you. The only question will then be, which chords will be struck and how strongly.                        

Stargazer’s Assistant- A meditative introduction

sa_11The evening started with a mesmerizing set by Stargazer’s Assistant, who have released the album ‘Remoteness of Light‘ through House of Mythology this year. Starting off with sounds that replicated sa_13the atmosphere of an unknown, ‘wild’ place, David J. Smith and the band used droning sounds enriched by awakening and mystifying sounds of bells, chains, accordions, various objects and percussion all skilfully positioned within the arrangement. There were influences from dark ambient, oriental music as well as tribal and pagan music in slow rhythms that ensured our total spiritual immersion in the atmosphere.sa_4Soon after the band started to weave their soul-numbing sounds, I realized that this was the meditative process that I was seeking to go through prior to listening to Hypnopazūzu’s music. sa_19Stargazer’s Assistant used different wind instruments including the unusual bagpipe and embarked on the demanding task of creating an enveloping sound for us. The alterations in the rhythms and styles were subtle and the resulting sound felt as if it was bearing messages from unknown/forgotten worlds.sa_21 It was only after the band had finished that the actual impact that the sound had on each one of us was truly apprehended. The discussions among different groups of people revolved around how powerful and subtle the impact of the music had been!

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Hopelessness, an uneasy feeling  transformed to an artistically attractive spectacle…or how I made up my mind about ANOHNI’s album

I have never felt so tormentingly undecided about an album before. Despite the fact that the powerful album’s title attempted to set my mood before I even had the chance to listen to it properly for the first time, this title was not the reason for my indecisiveness. After the album’s title, it was the cover with its distorted image of ANOHNI and the titles of the songs which, like the many heads of a hydra, attempted to monopolize my attention. Both the cover and the titles of the songs are in agreement with the album’s subjects and especially the titles of the songs are evidently R-8469589-1462215565-8684.jpegdarker than all the titles of songs that Antony Hegharty a.k.a ANOHNI had previously released. Finally it was the lyrics of the songs which tried to capture my undivided attention as they are filled with ideas and thoughts with most of which I could not agree more. The album’s essence was not hidden amongst these different aspects and this only became crystal clear after I had finished listening to this album for the fourth time. It was by then, that individual verses from the lyrics of some songs were imprinted on my mind and that my favourite song from the album ‘Obama’ had a very strong impact on my mood, not only because it feels like a mantra but because its overall atmosphere has elements that surpass its subject in so many ways! Somehow it had become obvious from the delivery of the lyrics, that ANOHNI’s voice was one more instrument and the aim was to articulate both the lyrics and the emotional awe that was provoked by the subjects of these lyrics. This album is so much more than a passionate performance of a few verses and the more I listened to it the more I realized that even though ANOHNI was actually singing, she was at the same time conveying a message at its purest possible form…Nevertheless, I still could not determine whether I actually liked the music. Indeed, the music in ‘Hopelessness’ is miles away from that of ‘I Am A Bird Now’ and ‘The Crying Light’ but the voice is still the same except this time, the stories she sings about, are much more sinister. If Antony’s voice in You Are My Sister, Cripple And The Starfish and Twilight had the qualities of a caress, we could confidently say that in ‘Hopelessness’ this voice and its mood incorporate the violence of a whip.

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I don’t usually see a favourite band play live very often so that I can appreciate and understand better all the changes that have happened to it in the meantime. This is exactly the approach I had with both Diary of Dreams and Red Sun Revival but the release of two memorable albums by both bands, made it imperative for me to attend this gig.

Red Sun Revival reveal their identity!

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I arrived at The Garage just at the moment when Red Sun Revival appeared on stage. They had already announced an early start and early finish and were on stage exactly at 7pm. This early start seemed to have put some people off and so they missed a big part of the band’s set. It would be an understatement to say that I was positively surprised with the band’s overall performance. The last time I saw Red Sun Revival was at the O2 Academy Islington where they were supporting And Also The Trees, together with Eden House and before that at the (sadly) recently closed Purple Turtle of Camden. At that gig there was an element of uncertainty and holding back from all the musicians as far as the delivery of their songs was concerned, but it seemed that with the release ofIdentitiesthe band has turned a page.

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Release Date: 22 January, 2016

Warner Music

1. When You Are Young/2. Outsiders/3. No Tomorrow/4.Pale Snow/5. I Don’t Know How To Reach You/6. What I’m trying to Tell You/7. Tightrope/8. Learning To Be/9. Like Kids/10. I Can’t Give Her What She Wants/11.When You Were Young/12. The Fur And The Feathers

R-8012187-1455107411-4254.jpegPrior to this gig I had only seen Suede once at an intimate, yet, for me, perfect gig, at the release of their previous album entitled ‘Bloodsports’ at Rough Trade East. In that gig there was another, more approachable element in the performance of the songs as the venue is small but it was a rare opportunity to see a different side of the band.

Having seen in fan videos the show that Suede and Brett Anderson are offering in festivals, I was looking forward to the world premiere of ‘Night Thoughts’ at a big venue as the Roundhouse. Since I have started the somewhat unconventional tradition of attending the live releases of their latest albums, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to be part of this, 2hr long set where ‘Night Thoughts’ was performed at its entirety against the backdrop of the movie!Approaching the venue I saw that a big queue had already formed and even though the doors had already opened at the announced time, only a handful of people had been allowed to enter, leaving the rest of us waiting outside in the cold. People became agitated and asked the security staff about this delay. Without providing an explanation for this, access was granted to all of us after 20’.  We are not used to experiencing such delays in entering Roundhouse, especially since its crowd control policy is one of the best in London. My surprise continued as I entered the venue only to realize that a few people were already feeling unwell. Later I was joined by a doctor friend of mine who also confirmed seeing later a few other fellow members of the audience feeling unwell at the corridors where someone fell unconscious.

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I have lived in London for almost a decade and I had never been to the basement of the Hope&Anchor for a gig. On the other hand, the frantic rate with which post punk/cold wave bands are being formed lately, means that only a handful get any attention and even less manage to create a distinct sound.

Personally, I have always found that cold wave music is a genre that is difficult to engage the audience in the same way other styles do. This is because it relies on the creation of a very specific, almost hypnotic atmosphere that references a certain set of feelings. For this reason, melody is ofter scarce and the vocals reflect a sort of aloofness which can be easily mistaken for passivity, blaseness or sheer indifference. For all these reasons, bands that choose this style need to be able to highlight the shades of grey that coldness encompasses and make them attractive enough so that their audiences are immersed in them and enveloped by them.

A most unusual sound check and its transition to the actual show

BNC_1Winter Severity Index and Cold In Berlin are two new bands that I wanted to see perform live for quite some time. Taking into account that the post punk genre has a dedicated audience in London, this gig presented a unique opportunity to enjoy cold wave music and the gig was well attended overall. The ticket price for this event was very reasonable and the venue proved to be really accommodating in all aspects of this gig. Stage times had not been announced but the audience didn’t quite expect a 90’ delay after doors had opened. Everybody was in a good mood and the atmosphere was nice so this delay didn’t seem to cause problems. Most of us walked into what seemed to be a heated argument between Winter Severity Index (who were on stage for their sound check) and the sound engineer. Being in the presence of their audience, I think that the band could have been in a better mood and the sound engineer not so verbal towards them.

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[CAPTION]

From the moment I listened to ‘Dissemble’ for the first time, I wanted to see Autobahn play live, in order to experience the psychedelic effect of their music. Influenced by post punk and minimal music and aesthetics, the 5 members’ band from Leeds, have released the debut album in August 2015 through Tough Love Records. This first release has been preceded by three singles entitled ‘Autobahn 1’ (2013),Autobahn 2(2014) and ‘Society’ (2015). The three EPs have somehow prepared the ground for ‘Dissemble’ in terms of atmosphere and sound and the result was one of the most memorable albums of its kind in 2015. So we headed to Bethnal Green on the first day of the last month of this year in order to see Autobahn on stage!

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