Consumer Electronics – Skullflower – Iron Fist of the Sun – Manchester – Live Review

Consumer Electronics – Skullflower – Iron Fist of the Sun

Ruby Lounge – Manchester

September 27th 2018

Fighting Boredom like noise, and when the news that Consumer Electronics were playing in Manchester there was no way we were going to miss them. They are described as ‘A furious tide of words spat out over a chaotic spew of mangled beats, bracing synths and state-of-the-art noise generation.’ which will do nicely thanks. Read what we thought below.

We arrive half way through Iron Fist of the Sun’s set due to wandering aimlessly around Manchester looking for the venue which turns out to be a cellar bar. Which we walked past at least twice. As we come in red light drenches the stage. The sound is brutal lines of static with an underlying hum of broken bass, fluid and moving. There are cables piled around as he stands silhouetted creating this noise. It switches over to what feels like electronic Heavy Metal, distorted and absolutely massive, there’s a lost vocal hidden inside as the music slows to a measured pace. It becomes what Killing Joke called music to march to, music for war. It’s a pity we didn’t see more because what we did catch was a great set.

We use the break to check out the excellent Cold Spring record stall and then Skullflower come on to a violet lit stage. Unfortunately it feels like someone has has been very heavy handed with the incense building an atmosphere nearer a house fire than a touch of sweet smelling smoke, I’m not the only one not going nearer the stage. The violinist starts to play and there’s a build up of insanely loud noise, layers of strings, it feels like John Cale has been set free. I can’t see anything but the sound is rich and full. There’s feedback, a massive hum and drone and the violin over the top just going on and on building the sound and feeling. Then silence. There’s a shout of “About five minutes and we’ll be ready” and after a huddle with the sound engineer it restarts. The sound grows again to be even louder and unstoppable, it is skull squeezingly intense and dense. layers are built up and carried onward. It’s like a primitive chant with dinosaurs screaming all around. Feeling like there’s a disaster looming and darkness all around. They finish and the silence returns, an good set, just a shame it was broken up.

Curtains are drawn around the stage for Consumer Electronics making the space smaller and more controlled. The crowd move through. On the stage there’s a table of electronics light up in white, there are no frills here, no gimmicks nothing superfluous to the music. Russell Haswell, Sarah Froelich and Philip Best walk onstage. Russell takes hs place behind the electronics, under his grey cap, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t look up at all at the crowd, Philip stands alongside him. Sarah walks round to the mic and the chest crunching beat starts. The beats and sounds are as crystal clear as a razor blade, it’s as hard as a brick to the kneecap and the bursts of sudden static just serve to disorientate us. Sarah takes the mic and starts to shout, she doesn’t sing, there’s no pretense at melody, she just shouts out her disdain, abuse and anger at us. She is perfectly poised and cool, swaying to the beat and dancing as she shouts. Russell drowns the room in static and then cuts back to the vocal.

Great big throbbing beats rolling on and on like dance music for demons and damned. It makes your skin feel clammy. It makes me think of sharp knives and deep water. Thunderous  springing beats and a paranoid chant from Philip over the top. it flows on and the two vocalists take it in turns, he talks loudly, angrily and full of aggression while she shouts out over and into our heads, it’s as hard as nails. This is true hardcore, I can’t stress enough just how good this music is, how far away from what ever else you can find Haswell is. He is out on the edge. This is what you strive for in the darkness, shouting, arguing, death and chaos. This really is madness. Stupidly squelchy techno beats with shouting over the top, aggressive and furious. truly awe inspiring. Haswell is just totally focused on the noise he is creating, soundscapes of dust and cement. Deep techno beats with added nastiness, the sound is outstanding.

They tell the freshers going bonkers down the front to fuck off, they say that they don’t often do the last song, so it’s going to be extra loud and extra long tonight. ‘If you’re here to get fucked up now’s the time’ then they go full on noise a go-go. There’s static, screams and electronic noise with no vocal, throbs and echoes, it goes on and on, drawing us in further and further until Russell and Philip simply walk off, leaving Sarah, who just stops, turns and leaves the stage. No acknowledgement, nothing, but then who needs it? 

Consumer Electronics were brilliant. Disturbing, dark, livid and horrendous. But utterly, utterly brilliant.

Consumer Electronics


Iron Fist of the Sun

Consumer Electronics have a Facebook page.

Skullflower’s website is, they have a Bandcamp page.

Iron Fist of the Sun have a Facebook page. They are also on the Cold Spring website.

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


Adrian Bloxham

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