Shit and Shine – Tuff Chowy – Colossloth – The Tin Music and Arts – Coventry – 26th April 2023
Fighting Boredom are of the opinion that when a ‘dancefloor-splintering electronic project’ hits Coventry we need to go. So here we are on a gloomy Wednesday for another show brought to you lucky people by Sink or Swim productions. The afore mentioned Texas based Shit and Shine has a new album out and is about to give us exactly what he wants to. Along with Coventry’s own Tuff Chowy and from the wilds of Leicestershire the unstoppable Colossloth it promised to be a memorable night, read about it below.
After a discussion about favourite colours and socks with Colossloth he heads onstage. There’s maybe a couple of people in the room when he starts but that changes as soon as the static rises up, drones are being dropped on top of drones, sending the lower ones askew and causing the top ones to disintegrate down, Picture blocks of flats being dropped on top of one another and you have an idea of the structure of this sound. There is a tune buried deep underneath, recurring over and over. He leans forwards and twists a knob and the room explodes with noise. It feels like someone has just opened floodgates and let loose a mass of freezing water. He’s now rocking backwards and forwards, getting utterly into this noise. Lulls us with a quiet moment, then feedback and a crash of sound, over and over.
It gets more placid and then ramps up again, louder and louder, throwing in sirens, crashes slabs of static. All of this coming from inside his head God help us. He looks out into the crowd with no expression and then adds more noise.
A whine rises up and the drone continues. Weird electronic noises like squelching feet walking fast and hammering enters the sound and then the static rises up again and it’s back to a huge noise. It’s worth mentioning here that this could have been louder, the volume lacked power and the set suffered a little because of that. He fades it down to a buzz and a demonic organ starts to play, he looks out at the crowd again, I’m pretty sure that when he’s in Colossloth mode he doesn’t give a toss what anyone thinks. The organ is now massive with a huge amount of static surrounding it.
I can’t. For the life of me, explain to people why this sound is so good, it just is. You either get it or you don’t. The noise rings out again and from somewhere deep inside a vocal is released There’s sudden silence, a couple of the crowd clap and then there’s a boom of bass and noise. The odd sounds underneath are back but this time gun shots and crashes echo. It whines again and then military style massive slow beats, factory sounds to march to. It’s metal, but more SPK than Saxon. For the last stand he twists the knob and black metal industrial beats hammer out, sounds like quadruple bass drums not just double and the static takes the place of any other instruments. He looks like he’s trying to break the hand held device he is using and the noise reflects this.The static melts down to silence and Colossloth looks up, grins and waves ‘cheers, thank you’ as the crowd applaud. My only quibble, the only niggle, was as I have said, that it wasn’t bloody loud enough..
Tuff Chowy are now onstage, their table of electronic stuff is twice the size of Colossloth’s, on account of there being two of them, Cristiana and Steve. Male and female and both wearing woolly hats, not sure if this is planned or coincidence but as it has very little to do with the music I’ll leave it there. They stand side by side and manipulate the knobs and buttons in front of them, it starts with synth stabs and weird electro. It’s a throbbing cool sound with a growling sound getting higher and higher. The synth tune that has appeared over the top of everything else is confusing as it keeps very subtly changing. They are adding eight bit video games noises now, the synth stabs are still going on, fading out every so often but always coming back with the same subtly changing tune over the top. It sounds angry now. I mean Tuff Chowy don’t look angry, they just look like they are concentrating and deep inside that throbbing sound. The lights flash over and over and weird fifties sci-fi soundtrack noises join in. There’s a great big fuzzy keyboard distorted note coming through, the tune is the same but different, it’s a static and feedback scream now. It’s alien invaders walking with deranged fairground music playing, a possessed calliope. The bursts of noise hide the change to what now seems like a mad marionette show tune. It’s losing coherence as it goes on.
There are now pistons pumping with an odd dramatic tune in between them drowning it out.
Steve puts on his guitar and plays, Cristiana makes it sound different and they generally muck about with the sound, there’s another version of the small tune going on now, over and over again with high synth notes all across the top of it this time. It hasn’t stopped at all. Just warped, morphed and swapped the sound type. Steve plays more guitar, twangy this time, over and over as a drone rises from Cristiana’s keyboard, which sounds huge. It all stops except the guitar, a high note and then the tune is back, dark, louder and dropping down a rabbit hole of weirded out static. The synth speeds up to a nonsense game soundtrack as static rains down. Tuff Chowy are continually finding a rhythm and then beating it to death, then doing it again. It’s squelchy now, but it’s the same bloody tune!
A deep drone goes up and down and he’s on the guitar again. With the two of them standing there on keyboard and guitar it’s like one of those wedding bands from the eighties and nineties has gone feral, got lost somewhere and just decided to hell with it all. The guitar sounds cool and low, the keyboard sounds menacing and ready for a fight. They merge into a section that sounds like a sixties spy film soundtrack, all twangy guitar and moody synths.
The mirror ball is a nice touch too. Steve slams into big stoner riffs and the synths sound totally at odds with it, metal guitar with a tinny beat underneath, as the drone falls and it ends. That’s two excellent sets so far.
Shit and Shine isn’t one for performance, whereas we could see the whites of Collossloth and Tuff Chowdy’s eyes. He sits at the back of a red lit stage, dry ice clouding in front of him black cloth draped over his table of stuff. He’s wearing a baseball cap so it’s not easy to even spot him at all. The shadows produce more beats and more noise. It fades in and out as a sampled voice of a pleading frantic diatribe plays out over the music, muffled and distorted. It’s confusing and the sense of disbelief in the sample adds to that. The beats just go on. Static starts to strain against the beats and burst through, it breaks down and morph into a faster rhythm and then fades as static noise crashes in. A synth joins in and then the beat goes all Industrial and hard. More voices skitter over the surface of the sound, a creepy whisper highlights the skipping beat and skittering noises. It fades down but it carries on with spikes of electro over the top much louder than the drum sounds. It’s around now that I notice that the bass has gone all subsonic and is making my skull vibrate inside my head.
The sound goes low and slow, there’s a huge beat now but it’s muffled and echoing, almost just fuzz. There’s another sample but I can’t make out what’s going on over the drums and thunderous bass line. A drawled Texan conversation and then a gangster London accent, reminds me of the football factory but under the noise I can’t be sure.
The bass is throbbing and the whole room is now vibrating along with it. The beats are creeping back in with the static forming like mist over the pulsating bass. There are people standing swaying and watching, people freaky dancing and next to me is one woman crocheting. He starts off the static again and huge kick drum beat, then it’s a dance fest as the drums kick in to a proper rhythm and everything goes bonkers yet again. My mind wanders and I think about the Joy Orbison album that uses people talking to build music on and just how different that is to this. This is like Shit and Shine has turned all the dials into the red and is just going with it now.More people are dancing, really getting down to the funked up bassline. Whines and static, hip hop beats, skittering beats and an even deeper funky punky bass to finish. People yell for more, but he’s already coiling cables up.
An excellent night of electronic weirdness and lunacy. I’d say that Colossloth should have been as loud as the other artists but as niggles go it’s not a huge one. Three ace sets and a decent crowd, what more do you need.
Shit And Shine
All words by Adrian Bloxham, all pictures by Martin Ward.