I spent a lovely amount of time with Smith at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town on Sunday. The event was the Black Celebration music festival of all types of dark music. Of most interest was the band Suicide Commando. The event was promoted by the Flag Promotions company who run so very many of the gigs and concerts I go to. Obviously my music tastes are aligned with some of theirs.
Here are my reviews of each band in order of viewing. As is my usual behaviour I write notes on my phone during or after each act to help me remember what I’ve seen. That is why the comments may be pithy or short.
Machine Rox – were first up. We arrived towards the end of their set as Smith and I were having make-up issues. But they were ok. My notes indicate the following: female singer, there was a guitarist but I couldn’t hear him.
I liked the dancers who came on for the last song wearing outfits similar to the lead singer. It was a nice touch.
Next up were DKAG who are quickly becoming my most-seen band. They are supporting many bands over the next year. While the music is good there are no vocals and so unless I am wasted on alcohol I’m not that interested. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but I like crowd interaction from the band, I want to know that they are enjoying it. Two guys with their keyboards doesn’t quite hit the mark.
There was now a short dinner break for me. The local cafe was very welcoming and the food was nice. Recommended. It was Mem’s Cafe on Kentish Town Road.
The return to the Forum meant the last few songs from Sulpher. This band sounded good and heavy with a decent industrial feel.
My notes are: guitars and heavy stuff. A little bit of samples mixed in. We saw about 4 songs and it was alright.
Let me explain the “alright” comment. This means I enjoyed it more than a lot of others. While “alright” might not seem a glowing review it means that the music was OK, suitable etc. [I’m trying to renormalise the term AVERAGE and OK to mean what they really mean].
Empathy Test came up next. I have seen this band before although I couldn’t remember exactly where or when. Smith and I had a discussion about who the lead singer was. Once they were on stage I figured out that they had played Infest last year and I saw them there. Here’s what I noted at the time: only 20 seconds in and I was done. Remember them from Infest. Boring vocals and drone-like. Slow. Female drummer who looks like she’s concentrating too much. Well constructed songs but boring.
Suicide Commando rocked the venue. I don’t mind the graphic visuals of people with holes in their bodies where holes shouldn’t be. This band was really good. A real uplift from the previous band.
I still maintain that a live drummer rather than a machine or dead person makes such a difference to a gig. I really enjoyed Mr Commando!
My notes say only the following:
heavy, fast and dirty. Great.
And then we get to Mesh. This might be the third time I’ve seen Mesh and they seem almost bored to be on stage. There’s not a lot of interaction. My only notes were:
The Young Gods came on stage next. I knew nothing about them but I could see three white lights thinly blazing over the positions of the band on stage and I liked that set up. It worked really well. The first song was very Pink Floyd with a slow build up to not-a-lot and then a slow wind down. It felt like the crowd didn’t really know when the song finished. But, this band were older and clearly excellent musicians with that easy style of people who have worked together for so long.
My scrawled notes say:
Interesting but not really my stuff. turning into experimental upbeat music. Still quite psychedelic. Good beat to some songs. Enjoyable.
Finally we had DAF. A band I had seen at M’era Luna and a band that didn’t impress hugely. I get it that without DAF and other older bands that my style of preferred music wouldn’t exist but I’m also allowed to find their stuff a little boring. I think I would be the same with Nitzer Ebb and other bands from the 80s and 90s. Smith and I stayed for a while but in reality we both had work the next day and long-ish journeys home. Maybe I’ll see a complete Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft set one day.