Attrition – Futumche! – Colossloth, The Arches Coventry, 23rd September 2022
Billed as a Night of Dark / Industrial electronics and experimental rock, the first gig put on by The Cage at the Arches Coventry promised to be a night to remember with three bands Fighting Boredom could claim easily to be amongst our favourites and friends. Read what we thought below
Okay, this is at least a week and a half late, but it’s been a bit of a week and a half to be honest and I’ve now decamped to the brewery to write this up. So if I ramble, it’s the beer’s fault. Anyway, back to the very nearly incomprehensible notes. Three bands tonight, all good and been looking forward to this for a while.
This is Colossloth’s first Coventry gig. He doesn’t look nervous and as he gets on stage I realise that for this is first time he is playing standing up. Not sure how I feel about this. I’m so used to seeing him kneeling in front of the other bands equipment at a board of cables and switches that to see him standing at a synth and a handheld twisty turny bastard electronic controller that it throws me somewhat. Without any preamble or introduction the noise starts. A stark drone and a low throbbing progresses into massive primal noise. There are sounds below the surface, demonic, hellish echoes across the fiery noise. It falls to almost nothing and then even louder blasts sear the air. He contorts his face as he manipulates the sound into even scarier more disturbing shapes, it’s all encompassing across the room as it crashes and rebounds around me. Layers of static surf over sampled snatches of voices and the noise moves on.
It slides into piano and static, there’s a squelching going on underneath too as a sound like someone in hob nailed boots limps up a scratched broken metal tunnel but that too is obliterated in a sea of static. This fades to an electro whine and suddenly you are lost in the woods, lost in the green cathedral as the drone and static stirs heathen thoughts and pagan ideas deep from the base of your skull. This is a new sound but the feeling is ancient, magical and lost. I am mesmerised, this could go on all night as far as I’m concerned. It’s shifting and you are standing in a broken ruined church, broken beams and twisted lead scattered around you and the crumbled stone of the graveyard carry on around you out of sight. This sound is on the edge, it’s further than most of us choose to go and it’s exactly what I need right now.
The sound starts to throb, it grows again, louder and louder and descends into blasts of light and an industrial nightmare of discord. Spiraling down over and over and you can feel yourself falling deep into the blankness. Colossloth is lost in it, eyes closed, figure twisted around as he makes the delicate sounds into layers of brutal force and it feels just like it’s going to fall apart any minute. Right up to the point that it does. Into a harsh spike of treble and a wall of black metal guitar. The strobe is turned on and the noise gets harder, faster and stronger. It’s obliterating everything in it’s thrashing wake. He slows it down to a throbbing drone mass and it’s gone.
Futumche! start playing a bizarre lounge lizard melody as they take the stage, which switches, when they are good and ready, into guitar, bass and drums and they’re off on another spiky post punk jazz funk groove adventure. Steve’s deep vocal commands your attention and the sound shifts sideways. This is antagonistic music, they don’t care if you like them or get it but those that do are always into a special type of ride. The bass and drums lock together and Jaz sings, his vocal is darker and more scathing. The groove gets faster and they’re suddenly into another direction, the music is dramatic and emotional. They play harder and the vocal sounds almost desperate with emotion. They throw slabs of sound into the mix and circle around each other. It’s another band right on the edge about to crumble. But they don’t fall to pieces, they change, switch, create a diversion and you have no idea how it got from that to that.
It turns spiked and lost, discordant and almost desperate. Until the funky drums smash in again and you’re dancing. When Brandon and Jaz’s bass and drums slide into place next to each other they are both unstoppable and unmistakable in the sound. I think the only reason that they sometimes move away is so they can breathe for a moment. You think they’ve done three short songs but in fact we all know it’s only one. They seem to be playing the lost Death Metal Dr No theme tune now, mind boggling. I can’t give you any indication what this sounds like, except that it’s Futumche! They know what each other are doing instinctively, but for all the tightness, they are above all loose, leaving space in the madness, hanging back from filling every second, pausing, loose.
Jaz and Brendon swap bass and drums. They both sound different to each other but it’s still unmistakably Futumche! The music chops around again, they swap back and they appear to have now embraced Jazz, bass led groove ridden cool as anything but then it falls again almost disintegrating until it obviously isn’t and they are ace again. They carry on this fantastic span of music until Steve’s massive slabs of guitar and bass rise up higher and higher and you wonder how Brendon can keep this up and they’re done. Leaving a gap in your head and a smile on your face.
Attrition don’t play Coventry often, I’m not really sure why, probably because they were happy being popular everywhere else. This is a chance to see the original line up from the eighties back together again. It starts with low synth waves around the room and sampled voices taking underneath. There are two at the back working the electronics and creating the wonderfully lush sound and there are two at the front, Julia with spiked red hair and a cape and Martin in his usual black, huge boots holding him steady. Martin has a bundle of joss sticks in his hand as he takes the mic and leans forward over the audience. The beats slide around as his low vocal merges with the operatic notes created by the woman. It’s dark electro and to my shame I’ve only seen attrition once before so haven’t witnessed this sublime mixture of sounds in person. The two vocals don’t seem like they would merge but the contrast makes the music resonate more. They move into drum patterns that make your feet move and they create sci-fi strange soundscapes, but whatever they play. It’s not comfortable, it’s not bright. Industrial beats leak through brilliantly and you embrace the shadows. Martin’s stopped leaning over the edge of the stage leaning on the mic stand, he’s now brandishing it at the crowd as an opera is going on behind him. It’s high drama as the beat wavers into squelches and disappears.
Then, techno beats par excellence and an over the top vocal that transforms it from something we’ve heard before in to an extraordinary trip. A huge bassline dampens it down and the odd sounds that they conjure over it take your mind away from the drum and bass that is happening right in front of you. It sounds like Coventry from the eighties up, the broken glass and concrete, the patchy grass and bottles of wine in the precinct as the sound goes into frantic mode, just before it stops.
All three bands were excellent. I was told by separate friends that Colossloth could have played for at least another three quarters of an hour, Futumche! were brilliant. Also my friend posted a picture of her wearing her new Attrition tee shirt the next day. An ace night that may need to be repeated as soon as it can be.
All words by Adrian Bloxham, all pictures by Martin Ward.