Wednesday, 27 April 2011

What I seen and done at Roadburn 2011 by Paul, age 37-ish (Part three)

Apologies for cutting the last part short mid-way through the day but, well, it was late and I was TIRED. Sorry.

Now, where was I? Oh yeeeeeeeeeaaah...

I reckon THAT should give you a clue as to who I saw next.

Yup. I took the controversial decision to go see Today Is The Day, as opposed to Pentagram, Cough or Earth. "But why?", I hear you ask, well, I'll tells ya. First off, I don't like Pentagram. There. I SAID it. Sure, their early stuff is cool and all, "Living In A Ram's Head" and whathaveyou, but their more 'meat 'n' potatoes' doom stuff just doesn't sit right with me. I mean, the lyrics are just EXCRUCIATING...

"Now I don my electric axe I'm gonna lay you on your back. All psyched up and ready to go, Take you to hell and won't say hello...". So damn HOKEY. Also, I just don't buy into the cult of Bobby Liebling. The guy is a freaky trainwreck and I just don't give a fuck about him.
So, are we clear on that one?

As for Cough, I had hoped to catch 'em on their own tour here, but it just didn't happen, and Earth I had just recently seen here, so I didn't much feel like seeing 'em again so fact, read my review of their Salford show here.

So, Today Is The Day it was. Having not seen 'em since the TITD/Voivod/Neurosis (!!) tour back in 1999, I figured it'd be good to see 'em again. As you can see from the video up above, it WAS good!

They SMASHED through the three opening tracks of 'In The Eyes Of God', like POW, SMASH, POW and were just generally on FIYAH.
I'd particularly like to draw your attention to bassist Ryan Jones, also of the AWESOME Wetnurse, wielder of one of the berserkest (is that a word? it is NOW!) looking instruments that I've clapped eyes on in many a year, and I've seen some REAL berserkos!

Ch-ch-ch-check it OUT! Hot pink tigerstripe snakeskin BC Rich Warlock with LUMINOUS YELLOW STRINGS.
Boy's gotta have some serious cojones to pull something like THAT off....and he DOES. He RAGES. He looks so buttoned-down, but don't let his preppy demeanour fool you, no SIR, he's a BASS-MONSTER. Hell, he HAS to be in Major-General Austin's army.

Now, with me in the packed-in crowd was one of my favourite people, Mr Jamie Grimes of Ireland's ASS-KICKING masters of killing technology, Drainland, and his glamourous assistant/carer Una.
You know those people that you don't really know very well, and you've only ever met 'em, like, once before, but something about 'em just CLICKS with you and you instantly love 'em? Well, he's one of THOSE. In fact, he's probably the ONLY one I know. I have a hard time making friends, and I don't have many, but when I LIKE someone, I LOVE 'em, y'know? Anyhow, he's a fine, upstanding gentleman and you should read HIS blog, Destroyed Human too.

SO. Jamie tells me that Una is as big a fan of Today Is The Day as HE is of Swans and I am of Voivod, which is QUITE BIG FANDOM. He ALSO tells me that their rather disturbing li'l ditty 'Pinnacle' is THEIR song. So, for Jamie and Una, here it is. We're over on the right somewhere near the back...sort of...offscreen...

Next up was the much-anticipated...but not by me...Godflesh set, in which they would be playing 'Streetcleaner' in it's entirety and in track order, including the 'Tiny Tears' EP tracks which were CD bonus tracks.

Now, I've seen Godflesh a good few times over the years - one of the first gigs I EVER saw was Napalm Death, Godflesh and Paradise Lost in Liverpool, back in 1988/89 or so - and they've been very much the definition of a hit and miss live band. Their reliance on technology that is unreliable seems to have also spilled-over into Justin Broadrick's Jesu, a band who are notorious for having massive onstage equipment failures and cancellations. Mind you, having seen 'em with the mighty Mickey Harris on drums around the time of 'Slavestate' (or was it 'Pure'? Hmmmm...) was a total disaster, so MAYBE they're just CURSED, no matter WHAT form their percussion takes.

The BEST live show I EVER saw by Godflesh was actually on the 'Streetcleaner' tour, playing with Loop and World Domination Enterprises at Liverpool University in 1990. They were TERRIFYING. Bathed only in blue light, Justin had a vocal harmonizer on his voice ALL the way through and it sounded INHUMAN, this spindly, pale stick-insect of a man twitching and writhing so hard you could see the VEINS pop out of his arms and neck, and this horrible slurred voice coming out of his wonder I saw a girl having the worst acid trip of her life during their set. She came crawling from the front of the stage, dribbling vomit and shaking her head.

So, that story served to tell you that I've seen Godflesh perform the tracks from 'Streetcleaner' the way they were SUPPOSED to be played, as opposed to the HALF-ASSED, SHODDY WAY THEY PLAYED AT ROADBURN.

Before they even played I hated it - they had this cod-classical intro tape that just didn't sit right with me. When they actually fell into playing 'Like Rats', Benny Green fucked up, there was no vocal effect running and the guitar sounded....wrong.
Now, I KNOW Broadrick uses a Floor POD FX unit for Jesu, so it's likely he also was using it here. They're all fine 'n' dandy for playing around at home, or if you're in some 'local' pub band or somesuch, but soundwise they have that horrible processed, digitally compressed, sound that all such units have. I could see that the beats and what few samples there were - samples were missing from 'Devastator' and 'Locust Furnace' - were coming out of his laptop, so it is quite possible that his guitar was simply running through the laptop too, depsite the Marshall stack behind him. The fact that his guitar had that HORRIBLE vaguely Nu-metal scooped mid thing going on could probably be put down to that. It wasn't loud enough, mainly because there were NO mids, and the highs were being clipped...ALSO meaning that any 'feedback' being made didn't have any of the visceral body needed for Godflesh's purposes. Considering that his set-up used to be a Fender Strat into a Marshall, with occasional extra distortion pedals and a delay pedal, it seemed to me that he'd overcomplicated his sound and was suffering for it.

Of course, most people seemed to think it was the best thing since sliced bread, but I'm betting most of 'em don't really know what it's SUPPOSED to sound and feel like.

Here is one of the BETTER tracks...

See what I mean about the sound of the guitar and the beats? Urgh.

Now, here's the same track from 1990...

Hell, I know which I prefer.

Aside from technical issues, Broadrick repeatedly got the opening lines of songs wrong and some of his doubled vocals, coming out of the laptop, natch, were out of synch and far too loud, most noticeably on 'Locust Furnace'.

I even leaned into the soundman - who apparently was Dirk Serries of Fear Falls Burning - to complain, but he looked at me like I was insane.

It seems to me that if Justin Broadrick was at all happy with that set, then he no longer has any real connection to Godflesh as was and should just leave that whole period WELL alone.

Of course, it could just be ME....

I left the room after 'Locust Furnace' as I couldn't face four more songs - the 'Tiny Tears' tracks.
So, THAT was my own real major let-down of the festival...although, realistically, I should have seen it coming.

I wish i'd had the common sense to go to the Midi and watch Wardruna instead, the ritualistic, mystical explorers of old Norse spirituality formed by the ex-drummer and vocalist of Gorgoroth...BUT, I'd been put off by the fact that it was a couple of geezers from Gorgoroth, of whom I am avowedly NOT a fan.

More fool me....more fool me...

I'm pretty damn sure I'd have enjoyed THAT a damn sight more than seeing Godflesh go through the motions and milk the cow of nostalgia. Ahhhh, hindsight is a wonderful thing...

It was all over bar the shouting, for me, as the room for Count Raven - my first choice for final band of the day - was too full, and I had no idea who Carlton Melton were....they gave me strange mental images....

 I begrudgingly decided to go see Soilent Green on the main stage, a band who outlived their usefulness immediately after recording 'Sewn-Mouth Secrets', if you ask me, with their finest hour consisting of the original recording of 'Build Fear' - from the 'Cry Now, Cry Later Vol.3' comp double 7" on Pessimiser - their tracks on the split 10" with Grief - also on Pessimiser - and maybe their first LP, 'Pussysoul', ALL of which date from 1995. Since then, they've become increasingly redundant by basically staying exactly the same. Totally one-dimensional.

Anyway, they were rubbish, so I headed home to dream of day two and......VOIVOD!!!

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