Supersonic Festival 2017 – Sunday – Live Review

supersonicSupersonic Festival 2017

Digbeth Birmingham

18th July 2017

Fighting Boredom return to Supersonic Festival 2017 for the last day, wondering how on Earth it will live up to Friday and Saturday. Read what we thought andtaek a look at the pictures below.

Read our review of Friday night here and you can find Saturday here.

By Sunday usually we are a tad weary, a tad delicate and it’s a bit of an effort to move around as much as the last two days. Not so this weekend. The sunshine has come out again and the festival is even hotter. The draught lager in Boxxed is the most refreshing thing you have ever tasted which is unfortunate as I’m driving so have to ration myself.

Supersonic_18062017_Fighting-Boredom-6Tomaga and Pierre Bastien are playing their alien strange sounds in the Crossing. Tomaga are creating their slow building music as Pierre plays his mechanical boxes alongside. The music is cold and hard as the box makes clockwork ticks, paper rattles and bowed music around it. The music is small and I feel could be bigger. As an experiment it works well, the small box is obviously lovingly cherished and Tomaga merge well with it.

Lone Taxidermist is presenting to us her latest piece, Trifle. She is singing and chanting with any number of inflated yellow rubber gloves on her costume, the poetry is delivered in a Newcastle accent Supersonic_18062017_Fighting-Boredom-10and feels all the more vibrant for that. She talks about her vibrator and the music is joined by panting and moaning ecstatically as she talks and ends with the word Cunt echoing around the room over and over. There is someone dressed as a chicken spraying shaving foam around at the front of the crowd too, which matches the over the top electronic madness coming from the stage.

She has red raw paint across her face and the musicians are in yellow boiler suits with boxing helmets. It’s very weird and strange but it’s weird and strange in a ‘can’t look away it’s so good’ kind of way

Supersonic_18062017_Fighting-Boredom-22Mohammed. These guys look so goth it hurts. Black robes with a hood in one case and a shapeless black hat for the other. The stage is lit with an oppresive red glow. They play a minimalist double bass and a cut down bass between them, I’m pretty sure that the bass is also sending out static and electronic pulses too. It’s very slow and steady with single drum beats echoing like they are sending out a call for something. The music is solemn and somehow dreadful as it installs a feeling of foreboding and fear. The bass is deep and the double bass is scratchy as the music takes us down into the abyss. It is very minimal, with a soft horrifying centre, people whisper to each other if they need to communicate, this music doesn’t bode well for interruptions. The sound has very small variations but they are hugely effective. I leave the hall and immediately buy the CD. An excellent set.
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Snapped Ankles are pagan punk. They are dressed as wild men and one guy in particular is wearing a full hairy suit, in the hottest room in the world, that’s dedication to your art. I can hardly bear it in shorts and a shirt so God only knows what he’s feeling like. Their music is a huge psychedelic swirl that underneath rests on a hard. cool groove. The vocals to begin with are yelps and screams but that changes into a clear high voice that fits the music well. 
There’s a fun, happy, stoned out of your eyeballs vibe. The big chugging space rock is done really well and when they kick into  a primitive groove the room gets even hotter. Another great set.
Supersonic_18062017_Fighting-Boredom-46Ghold start off with the guitar and bass laying down a hard edged drone. The atmosphere builds and intensifies, the drums start slowly, the tension builds and then they just go. It’s thrash without a hint of metal cheesiness, hard fast and aggressive, and when the vocal starts it is rough, gutteral and tuneful but it is fighting like hell with the music to be heard. It’s very post hardcore sludgy dense music that, like Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs yesterday gives a nod to the power of the Rollins Band and their ilk that turned hardcore inside out way back. The groove is ongoing and hard, they play like this is what they are meant to be doing, nothing else matters, they could be on a massive stage and give this much, you get the idea that everything goes into this. Another great performance in the hottest space in the festival. 
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The Oxbow Choir is a one off performance, adding a choir to the mighty sound of Oxbow and one that we at Fighting Boredom have been anticipating all weekend. Martin our photographer has already stated that Thin Black Duke is his album of the year so far and I’m in agreement. 
The stage is full of equipment and incense burns on the monitors, the band come onstage and start to play slowly and with emotion. Standing behind the band are a line of black clad chorists ready to add to the sound. Eugene S. Robinson comes onstage looking like the most pissed off person on the planet, he moves slowly as if he is old and frail, he struggles to untangle the microphone cord, eventually gets the mic ready and sings, he matches the music with an old man’s blues voice. He seems to have to force the words out, breathing with effort and spitting on the stage between lines. The band go off into a mass of discordance, bring it back, slow down and Eugene is out over the crowd singing, staring and looking like he wants to kill someone. He moves back and does the decrepit old man walk around until he strolls to the mic stand, strong and hard. 
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The band get faster, the music is perfect and my mind opens to it. It’s almost punk, almost blues and almost metal. It is closer to the ever shifting Bad Seeds than anything else I have heard but even that is lazy journalism. They sound like nothing else, they sound like Oxbow and I really think that to fall for them you need to see them like this, on stage. The band play and Eugene is like a madman, the mic stand flies and he dances like no one else is in the room, singing for us right on the edge of the stage. The band slip effortlessly into an armageddon blues groove that is deep, dark and claustrophobic, Eugene’s pristine jacket comes off, then his waistcoat and he unbuttons his shirt slowly as he howls and yelps out the words. He has some sort of rubber tee shirt on underneath which quickly joins the rest as his tattooed body and arms drip with sweat and he moves unsteadily to the music. 
They sway into a delicate sound, the choir sing as a piano plays, the vocal is whispered underneath and the singers build up the atmosphere even more. Eugene sings a desperate sounding vocal that contrasts perfectly with the beautiful choir, it sounds like someone moving from the depths of hell into redemption and light. 
They play a dark brooding melody that is hard and cold, perfect music for fighting. It has a croon for a vocal with a plucked bass line that opens up into glorious music when the choir join in. The choral voices lead the band into a massive burst of noise which stops and starts as Eugene talks and the choir are slipping in and out of the sound. It sounds like nothing on earth, the soundtrack to a trip to the stars, if John Barry had composed this music he would have been proud. The Oxbow Choir is a totally beautiful achievement. 
As the guitars sing and the room shines with spaced out rock brilliance your eyes are trained on Eugene, it’s like watching a grown man have a revelation that could change his life and then fall apart in the space of one tune, the brilliant left field music and his vocal makes the whole thing outstanding; with the added choir and this is pretty much unmissable. 
Eugene is both a manic preacher and a lost soul in need of redemption, both sides lost deep in the bowels of hell. This has romance, dirt, noise and beauty and is the performance of the weekend.
What a way to finish.
We walk away from another Supersonic Festival, new favourite bands in our heads and new music in hand. We will see you here next year.
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Tomaga & Pierre Bastien

Lone Taxidermist

Mohammed

Snapped Ankles

Ghold

Oxbow Choir

Supersonic Festivals website is supersonicfestival.com, you can also find them on Facebook.

Oxbow’s website is theoxbow.com, they are also on Facebook.

Ghold’s website is ghold.co.uk, they have a Facebook page.

Snapped Ankles’ website is snappedankles.com, they have a Facebook page.

Mohammed’s website is mmmd.eu, they are also on Facebook.

Lone Taxidermist is on Facebook.

Pierre Bastion’s website is pierrebastien.com.

Tomaga’s bandcamp page is tomaga.bandcamp.com, they have a Facebook page.

All words by Adrian Bloxham, all photographs by Martin Ward.

 

 

Adrian Bloxham

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