Monday, 11 August 2008

No Age/HEALTH/Lovvers

I've often commented on here about our lack of audience, as if we're firing shots behind a soundproof screen. However, on tonight's showing, I'm convincing myself that everyone in the front five rows tonight read my post and decided to prove me wrong. I'm self-important enough for that to stick. As the title of this post suggests, No Age, HEALTH and Lovvers played a gig together tonight at the Scala in London. What the title doest tell you was how excellent it was. 

On Friday's showing and with a warning that the sound in the Scala can be worse than terror attacks, I was bracing myself for another night of excellent music played in poor conditions. I needn't have bothered. Filling in for a passport-less and stranded in Portugal Dan Deacon, I arrived just in time to see Lovvers tear through "Wasted Youth" in their typically insouciant, bratty manner. Churning and sloopy, they stumbled and pissed their way through a set so nasty and brazen it could've fallen out of the SST West Coast scene sometime 15-20 years ago.  If they don't have a song called "19fuckin'91", then they should really try a little harder. But they do certainly try, as much as they probably like to pretend they don't and they're superb for it, even if the crowd do seem a little scared. There must be an album arriving sometime soon, surely? 

If Lovvers (and No Age) look to the past for influence, HEALTH have got their sights firmly on the future. Playing a set heavy on new material, they're the best I've seen them. The new songs retain the aggressive edge of the first album, but there's a little less calculation in their delivery, a little less mathematical in their formulation. Mid-set stand out "Party Zone" is a feel good hit of the summer, fall and winter in waiting, owing a little to Fuck Buttons in its dance macabre, but still undeniably HEALTH in its metallic spikiness. Their new T Shirts are also extremely excellent. They've got the whole Gesamptkunstwerk thing down, just have No Age have, with merch spilling over the table in the lobby offering a firm reminder of their aesthetic. Stood waiting for the band to finish selling to chat 12", I saw about 15 people buy T shirts and not one record was sold. Worrying? The mention of Fuck Buttons is important too, as both them and HEALTH are doing for noise what Mogwai did for post rock (and let's not forget that Mogwai always had great and extensive merch); dragging it into a wider frame of reference without diluting what it's about. It also helps that they look really good.

With HEALTH having played earlier than scheduled, No Age are given time to watch the venue fill and by the time they take to the stage, it's sardines. And this is when the unexpected happened. Gathered at the front are about 50-100 teenagers who precede to go Peter Buck-on-a-plane as soon as No Age start playing. Five songs in, their on stage, spilling beer (naughty naughty: they're all about 12), jerking like electrified synapses  and cutting out guitars. No Age love it and thank their "enthusiasm". It's amazing to see such willful abandon (even if it's a little "kneel down and you shall believe"), especially given the cold as ice reception of the too-cool-for-school bores on Friday. More gigs like this please. And when did No Age get so popular? It's deserved though.  

I was meant to post some photos of the night here, but as my camera doesn't have a USB port and the memory card doesn't fit in any other camera in the house, they're stranded on the shit thing. Technology really shouldn't be this hard. 

And one more thing to add: we just watched HEALTH at Rough Trade. The new songs really are as good as I thought last night. They need to take a rest from touring so they can get them recorded!

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