(**I've censored the name F*ckbuttons because little people will read this blog**)
It was with a sense of trepidation that we headed for the Corn Exchange to see a trio of the finest experimental acts playing live at the moment . Now I don’t mind a lack of melody however I was worried if a whole evening with little or no vocals would hold my interest .
No need to worry as this whole show was the sort of aural assault which I’m sure could be used as a torture tactic on the holidaymakers at Guantanamo Bay. Opening up were Errors - local electronic outfit who scorched through a tight set. They have a fairly distinctive sound using quirky beats and driving guitars . The more familiar tracks from their recently acclaimed album have a dub feel and perhaps are influenced by another local act from around 5 years ago - Scientific Support Department . Please see Errors if they visit your town.
Errors sounded a bit more ambient than the last time I saw them a few months back however this is likely due to F*ckbuttons who put the “mental” into experimental. They are a bit better known having starred at the Greenman Festival and are obviously not courting commercial success. The name is probably nothing to do with a homage to seventies pantomime principal boy Cinderella Specialist Anita Harris but you never know ( I was at the gig with the lead singer from Factory favourites of the early nineties The Wendys who allegedly were named after Wendy Craig) . The duo produced 30 minutes of uncompromising soaring ear piercing undiluted noise. This was a throw back to the likes of SPK at their best . My right ear drum started to vibrate nastily halfway through their set and each segment of music seemed more awesome than the previous one. I’m not sure I could last a whole album and their style suited the aircraft hanger type venue very well with noise bouncing off the back wall and assaulting us from behind. One has to accept that a certain amount of the set has to come pre recorded however the F*ckbuttons boys played with a sense of stage presence which made this tolerable. F*ckbuttons are a defining moment that noise lives - even the road works outside the venue sounded bland after this!
Mogwai had a lot to live up to following this and managed to meet the high standards of the evening . A mixture of Mogwai classics and tracks from there new album were delivered with their trademark relaxed elegance. How can they make such a complicated sound appear so easy ? This is the biggest venue I’ve seen Mogwai appear in and similar to F*ckbuttons the dimensions of the place added to their orchestral feel rather than being lost in what are traditionally dodgy acoustics . Favourite pieces of mine come from Happy Songs From Happy People especially the bits used in the film about Zinedine Zidane which the band collaborated on. It is always great to see a band who really think about what they do and mixing their talent and experience this is what you get at a Mogwai show. I just hope my hearing returns soon. Even if it doesn’t I would still say it’s been worth it…