Live Review | Boredoms, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Minehead, UK, 11.03.12
This is awesome in its most literal meaning. Music as power. I am rooted to the spot, pins and needles in my feet, as static and entranced by sound as I have ever been. People are open-mouthed. Shuddering. Gasping. The man in front of me has put his head down and wrapped his arms around himself to filter some of it out but it’s not discordant or painful, this noise, it’s delightful, mighty, ringing with harmonics and beauty. There’s a girl crying further down the row. Indeed, I can feel tears pricking behind my eyelids. Where did that come from, what internal button has been jabbed to elicit that response? What a strange species we are.
Eye uses whatever he can: a magpie making its nest out of hip hop beats, heavy metal doom chords, tribal polyrhythms. Sometimes a big bossy tune swells into existence, as if soundtracking some portentous scene from a horror film we can’t see. Which has the effect of making the experience actually frightening in parts: what the fuck is he summoning here? Clanging on his seven-headed guitar hybrid with a big wooden stick, the chilling thought occurrs to me that he really could be raising demons, cooking up a witches brew, stirring the substance of the sound with his staff like some ferocious musical Gandalf! I don’t think I’ve ever been scared by music before.
At one point in the second piece of the 90 minute set the chattering of all those guitars is like the metal teeth of an immense xylophonic giant. There are Eastern tonalities and scattered outbreaks of Western freeform drumming in amongst the order. It’s simultaneously pretty and disorientating and mesmeric.
The last piece takes the all-out approach to endings: it is endings taken to an apocalyptic degree. One simple, in fact downright cheesy, tune is amplified out of all proportion, inflated by guitar upon guitar taking it on, aloft on a repetitive tribal rhythm, repeated and repeated until it spirals us into an altered stated of consciousness and does not let go. Over and over, this one tune, until it is beaten into our heads and our blood and the rhythm of our heartbeats. It’s a virus, it’s a curse. It’s a call to arms. It’s a theme tune, a clarion call, it’s hypnosis. Music that has a physical effect on flesh and blood. Eye will not let it go, will not let us go. The tune ends and then starts up again, shaking us with all the tenacity of a crocodile with a bunny in its irresistibly prehistoric locked jaw.
When the beast of a tune does finally release its grip and lets the audience stagger out into the sunshine, they are reeling. People are turning to each other, wide-eyed and inarticulate, gasping like landed fish for something sensible to say.
I think, more than anything, we feel extraordinarily lucky.
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