Got out of work on time to catch the 5:15 train and made it to the Underworld at just before 6:30 where there was a queue but no open doors. civi
was there and later fractalgeek
so at least I had a few people to talk to while we were waiting in the freezing cold. Around 7 they told us there had been problems during soundcheck. Another 10 minutes or so later and the doors finally opened. I'd also found a random bloke who needed a ticket so my spare wasn't wasted.
First on the bill were Pettybone
, a rather retro, all female hardcore/punk band who didn't do much for me but they had a good energy/vibe on stage.
Then, Bitter Ruin
, the "musical sorbet of the evening". I've been talking about them repeatedly so just listen to their music if you haven't heard them. They played a great set of favourites, keeping the new songs secret, dammit (especially as I can't make the 15th).
Next up, back to loud and fast music in the shape of Bo Ningen
from Japan. The best I can describe it is "psychedelic wall of noise" or "Merzbow with guitars". They also had a lot of hair. ;o) The more and longer they played, the more I warmed to them and I really enjoyed their set. Here
's an interesting bit about them from the Guardian.
And finally, the main event, Gentlemen & Assassins
, consisting of (at least this instance) Sxip Shirey
(mad beatboxer and improv percussion monkey from NYC), Brian Viglione
(best known as drummer and other half of the Dresden Dolls) and Elyas Khan
(who I knew very little of/about and who sang, played guitar and a sequencer thing).
It's hard to describe, really, as there was a lot of improvisation and mix of styles but they played a couple of tracks from Sxip's latest album and other things and it was fantastic and a lot of fun. Sxip is a mad genius who uses his voice(?) to make noises and occasionally to sing, all kinds of bells and whistles (incl. the Sxipenspiel made by Neil Gaiman and AFP) and various actual and improvised percussion instruments. Brian is a beast on the drums (but unfortunately was sitting in the back in red light and usually covered by Sxip). Elyas sings in an Arabic/Middle Eastern style and plays guitar. The combination is just wonderful.
I'd taken the camera along because I knew The Underworld aren't usually arses about it but the light is still awful and was mostly red. I don't think I'll post any of Bitter Ruin's because they had only red light. Also, due to the distance (I was on the main level in the back) a lot of them were blurry. :o( A few samples:
They finished early and I made the 23:15 train to Cambridge.