Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Etai Keshiki, CAG, Vom + Pyramidion @ The Fenton, Leeds - Review

Star trekking through Leeds' run down fringes, with the looming signs of social decline in the air, I journey to the next BS pit stop @ The Fenton.
Entering the front door I am greeted with hoards of long-haired and bearded metallers soaking up the pre-90's thrash and heavy metal played through the jukebox. The Fenton, I hear, used to be a popular destination for bikers, punks and metalheads decades ago and one can still witness the aftermath of its influence on the misdemeanor and mentality of its present customers. I share affinities to the mentality of these kind of pubs, still reeling off the unquestionable impact these lost eras had on their establishments. I admire its honesty and I feel it's this kind of history that needs to be preserved.
All that aside, I wasn't here to bask in any kind of cultural reminiscence, tonight was about the unearthly vibrations being emitted from above.

First on was newly borne Leeds improv-groovesters CAG (CASTRATO ATTACK GROUP). As I entered the room, I was accosted by a towering tidal wall of high frequency guitar feedback. Before I could pinpoint where I was, the disorientating aggression of the piercing feedback loop was like a clutched hand at your throat, willing you to listen or be asphyxiated where you stand. A plodding down-tempo groove was provided by bass and drums. As i watched, it was as though there was no acceptance of an audience being present, they might as well have being playing to a regimented robot gathering, heads slowly nodding away in unison. Which, incidentally is what the listeners portrayed. Time passed and I found myself staring vacantly into the dark kick drum cavity, the mixture of groove and wailing guitar feedback was hypnotic to my earholes. 30 mins of purely improvised stringent stoner groove, like driving music for the undead.

CAG are Luke Vollar, Gav Montgomery and Phil

Next up were another loud Leeds ensemble that go by the name of ETAI KESHIKI. They represent a particular malevolent dystopian nightmare, where doleys are permitted to get together and release their pent up up frustration on the world. A distant assault on the drums provide a hellish tribal backdrop to the harsh reality protruding from the variegated onslaught of the backline. Etai are a claustrophobic entity on the brink of exploding all over the listeners personal space, but in the nicest possible way. I've witnessed Etai perform in the past, and tonight they treated us to a brand new set, offering a more stunted selection of songs that seem to concentrate their energy to great effect. For circuit bent, sharp sounding black and grey hues of nuance and heavy as fuck riffs with shouty behaviour... Etai fulfil every pocket of your discontent for everything soulless in this world while still harboring a wide grin on your face.
I admire the bands choice to release an EP on a dying format, it aptly sympathises with my growing love of today's anachronistic tendencies.
Their new EP "ETAI OR DIE" is available on cassette tape now.
Email etaikeshiki@hotmail.com to purchase the tape.
Listen online here:

Next on the menu were VOM, a Psych-doom offering hailing form Scotland. A contagious more softer doom emanates from the offset of their performance. Lights were turned out and replaced with a slow blinking white light on the stage that reveals fragmented pockets of their movements. A disjointed rhythm from the light throws the headbanger and forces you to close your eyes and concentrate, which I personally have found myself doing more often than not in recent gigs. It is an invitation to be more critical in your listening approach. Psych guitar chords striking, doom-laden bass swelling and marching percussion pounding a visual representation of a birds eye panoramic view of desolate alien topography. Gliding above this topography riding the fire winged griffin, a dead sea comes into view where you spy archaic, ineffable objects emerging and floating eternally in the scorched sun. VOM is the surf music from dead seas.


Rather than fake a detailed description of last band of the night, Pyramidion, I will instead confess to missing the majority of their performance due to getting carried away conversing in the smoking area. I did catch their final 10 mins or so which I very much enjoyed. I heard an indulgent delicacy in this fragment of their performance.. Like a looser construct to the proggy echoes of the 60's and 70's, with bands like Zappa and Yes coming to mind. More Crimson in sound but more psych when one contemplates the more cosmic improvisational approach to their music. I have played in improv orientated bands in the past and find the most difficult thing in composition is controlling the ups and downs in emotional peaks within the live performance. I found Pyramidion executed this well, conducting themselves in a way they would bring their density up and down in quick succession and in unpredictable ways. I highly recommend this band, and hope the next time I see them, I am not cemented to the smoking area!


Pyra 190509.4 by Pyramidion


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