On Saturday the 19th of December the second Pushing Against The Wire event took place at The Roadmender club in Northampton.
Pushing Against The Wire is an organisation set up by three main people: Justin Mitchel, Barry Nichols and Lester Faulkner. This evening's event was a showcase of four bands all of whom fall into the field of electronic music. First up (after only a ten minute sound check) were Attrition; second were In The Nursery; third were The Legendary Pink Dots on their only UK date of their current tour; and fourthly it was Meat Beat Manifesto.
However, if that hasn't got you screaming over the fact that you missed the event then I hate to disappoint you even more by telling you that prior to the acts taking the stage there were screenings of Clock DVA's new video "Kinetic Engineering" and Crash Worship's "Inflammatorio". On top of all that their were stalls for the bands and records/books were on sale too.
The event started at just after half past seven and lasted until two thirty in the morning but there were no complaints from the people attending. Pushing Against The Wire offered a fantastic evening's entertainment for a very small price (tickets were only £5 in advance). Put simply that works out at £1.25 per band and don't forget the videos. With such quality acts on stage this is phenomenal value for money. If PATW continue to organise events of this quality and distinction they will surely gain a huge following. So if you missed it this time keep an eye out for the next one and make sure you don't miss that.
The new Clock DVA video lasted for approximately forty minutes and is due a commercial release at any time now but PATW offered a preview screening of it. The video had a similar feel as Humanoid's "Stakker Eurotechno" video although Clock DVA's didn't feature extensive computer graphics and it wasn't as bright and colourful. Nonetheless it was excellent with computer graphics, black and white film clips and a lot of polarisation effects. Some of it was repetitive but this was intentional as it gave an air of mechanisation and computerisation. Naturally the music was impressive too.
The Crash Worship video lasted for twenty minutes and was the first European screening of it. It consisted of strange, weird, and noisy sounding concoctions combining with the blurred, violent(?) images of what appeared to be a camp fire party. It wasn't a party but it was impressive although most of the time it was difficult to tell exactly what was going on and some of the comments that came from the crowd backed this up.
Crash Worship's music is an enticing foray into experimentalism. They have just released the "Asesinos" compact disc through Northampton's Cold Spring Records. This consists of thirteen tracks totalling over seventy minutes of music. Strange sounds creating almost tribal sounding dances are meshed together with synthesised notes and noise. Exciting, experimental and explosive this CD was surprisingly entertaining and listenable. However, sequencer/techno-pop fans may not find this as being their cup of tea.
Martin Bowes and his band stepped up to take to the stage first. Attrition have been going for a number of years now but this was my first chance to see them live. The venue appeared to be a good one and there was a fairly healthy crowd.
Once Attrition started I new I was in a for a treat. A white backdrop featured a slide of the current track and Martin's vocal performance was very good considering the circumstances. Attrition's songs seem to have something special about them but with a difference that enables the music to steer away from the conventions of normality. The rhythm and bass lines are well constructed and this live performance was an excellent example of their abilities as both a recording artist and a live one. For those interested in hearing Attrition I highly recommend the sixteen track "Recollection 84-89" compilation album released on the American label Projekt (cassette - PRO 28MC, CD - PRO 28).
Right Hand Man
Look Out Hedonist
The Game Is Up
Thin Red Line
This band's stage layout gave rise to interested and expectant looks from the crowd. Four people, a keyboard and rack mounts to one side, an automatic slide projector and screen, a wide selection of drums and two huge (and I mean huge!) bass drums on their sides at the back of the stage.
With so many percussion instruments on stage it was not surprising these took on the essence of the music. The synthesisers were layered over the top and occasionally vocals were used to complement everything.
Once we had been led through the first couple of tracks with an intensity of purpose something was quite clear. This group was powerfully emphatic and they knew their stage routine with a military like precision &emdash; each of the band members versatilely swapping instruments and stage duties quickly and efficiently.
The slower tracks were commanding and compelling usually complimented by gentle female vocals. Some of the tracks that In The Nursery played were quite awe inspiring as the percussion built up to an almost frenzied crescendo with gothic synthesised sounds adding to the atmospheres created.
The latest In The Nursery material is available on "Duality" a CD only album released on Third Mind records (TM 9163 2). A new live video without a proper title is being sold at their live gigs. It features thirteen tracks from the concert they performed on the 28th April 1992.
Next up was The Legendary Pink Dots on their only UK date in their current tour. The audience was taken on an epic voyage into sound effects and luscious washing waves of sound created by wind instruments, guitars, synthesisers and vocals. The serenity of it all was disturbed by an impending horror that the music somehow conveyed as being about to strike. This apprehension was helped by Edward's emotionally screamed vocals and an instrument's punishment under the steady manipulations of a musician. Each track contained its own breath of life in the form of a deep pulse amongst the soundscapes and the eeriness of the performance was aided by lots of dry ice.
The headlining act. A sparse stage arrangement of just a conventional drummer, the two main men operating the vast laboratory like control decks and keyboards and a large double projection screen.
Once Meat Beat started it was plainly obvious they were here to be heard and to make you move. A quality PA system pounded out the music and it was LOUD! Thumping bass with infectious beats that made you want to move and if you didn't move the floor vibrations moved you anyway! It was all very commanding and excessively over the top.
In my personal opinion although every band was good, musically Attrition were the best and the best performance was easily In The Nursery's. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event and I'm sure many of you would have too. I would like to thank everyone at Pushing Against The Wire especially Justin for inviting me and Lester for putting up with me. I can't wait for their next event