ULU, London on 7th March 2006
Reviewed by Andreas on 15th March 2006
It is the crux of so many concerts I attend that a) the doormen are shits, b) the beer is flat and expensive c) the sound is rubbish and d) that the opening bands are usually terrible. As I entered the London ULU on a very soaked-to-the-bone-where-the-hell-is-this-spring-we're-all-waiting-for evening, all of the above points came to mind. Luckily, the doorman was pleasant (well, as pleasant as a doorman can be, he does after all have an image to maintain, you know).
"That's twelve pounds please", the blatantly volunteering student ticket girl says. Remote shock at price of ticket is experienced by me, a blatantly wet, slightly miserable student who's posing as a journalist. This is London though, so I pay up, get my coat in the cloakroom, buy a bad pint of Grolsch (after arguing about whether or not I am in fact 22 years of age) and stand back to watch the bands.
The Mirimar Disaster
The Miramar Disaster are like a kick in the gut. In a good way. Tonight their vocalist is off sick, they explain, before pommeling their way through another wall-of-sound song that relies on heavy instrumental parts and all those killer riffs, man.
My head is nodding, my foot is tapping, but reviewing a band without their vocalist is slightly dim, wouldn't you say? However, if you're into things like Isis, Mastodon and other acts who prefer to beat their audience into submission, The Mirimar Disaster are worth checking out. Personally I will be getting my mittens on a record.
Chris Clark makes the kind of music people who are far more up-and-up about music than me like. It's a mix of break-beats, bleeps and samples and electromongering. It's not bad. It's interesting, but the venue (and perhaps audience) is ill-suited for this kind of thing. Think Autechre, but with a more beat-orientated style.
The video backdrop of buildings merging into other objects is cool, but it doesn't draw away from the fact that Chris Clark is a bloke in a hoodie, standing over some samplers, beat boxes and other gear, not singing, not moving, not doing very much at all. Apart from looking at his boxes.
The result is, obviously, that most of the crowd disappear to the bar whilst Clark finishes up. Interesting music, boring/non-existent show.
"THIS BAND IS UNSTOPPABLE!" sounds the sample from early 90s-grunge inspired love/comedy flick "Singles". This marks the intro to what is perhaps 65daysofstatic's pinnacle song - "Retreat! Retreat!" before the band kicks in, spinning heavy guitars and drums and bass and everything onto the audience.
Already the band has been on for a good 45 minutes, displaying a talent that is rare. The "post-rock" genre often gets boring, with bands creating soundscapes that last for far too long and rarely go anywhere. 65daysofstatic have a talent for crescendos that don't take 15 minutes to get going, have the accessible riffs borrowed from alternative rock, and the electronic instrumentation needed to create a fully organic sound. Songs like "Hole" and "I swallowed hard, like I understood" display this to an amazing extent. And tonight those songs stir my heart like very few bands have ever done before.
To the beautiful video backdrop of 1000 polaroids, pieces of 21st century anxiety-verse and pictures of just about everything, 65daysofstatic's songs show that no singing is needed to make an impact. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
My one disappointment is the venue. Whilst the sound is good, the video perfect and the stage big enough for the band, they would work so much better in more intimate settings.
This is what born-again christians feel when they see Jesus in a coffee cup. In a culture that is fundamentally based on simple consumation until futility catches up with everyone, bands like 65daysofstatic make the daily slog worthwhile and more.
Conclusion? I have none. Just a loss for words.
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