Monday 4 January 2010

Moja, Molice, Elohymn and Royalinserts at Bull and Gate - 29 December 2009


They had me at ‘Hello’.

Specifically, they had me at “Hello. Hello. Hello. Molice. Moo-leece, Moooo-leeeeece!”

Singer/guitarist Rinko stands legs akimbo and then proceeds with a set of rattling garage rock and pop accompanied by the most lascivious display of pelvic thrusting and gyration since Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show. Molice should only be filmed from the waist up, because there’s too much Devil down below.

Molice are one of a trio of Japanese bands doing a whistle stop tour of the UK between Christmas and New Year. The tour is promoted by The Big Jugs Experience, who have been putting on bands in Osaka since 2006 and now bring us their vision of rocktastic experimental goodness.

The first act of the night were Royalinserts, who are part UK and part Osakan, and feature some of the promoters. They play a ferocious and stripped down no-nonsense straight ahead brand of guitar punk. This three piece stand firm in the centre of the stage and blast it out. It is loud, it is uncomplicated, it is good.

Royalinserts are followed by Elohymn who hail from no further east than Chorley. They are as intricate and complex as the previous act was simplistic. They take ages to set up, the stage strewn with all manner of wires, effects pedals and laptops, all arranged around a substantial drum kit which is arranged so that the drummer is sat with his back to the audience, giving us a chance to marvel at his prowess. There is so much equipment that the rest of the band have very limited space to move. It’s like playing a gig in the middle of a NASA control room.

Elohymn are instrumental, but favour upbeat percussive rhythms and swathes of rock guitar rather than ambient noodling. By their very nature they cannot help but be a bit static, but they do their best to lay on an entertaining show. When they start I am sceptical, but they have won me over by the end.

Once Elohymn have been cleared away, the aforementioned Molice come on and tear the place apart. Rinko flares her nostrils, Ikuhiro slaps his bass and we all bounce about to the almost Latin-tinged track ‘Headphone’. This is pop heaven.

The headliners tonight are the extraordinary Moja. They are a two piece comprising a little guy (Haruhiku) with an enormous bass guitar and a female drummer (Masumi) who has the nickname ‘Drum Destroyer’ because of her prowess.

And they are wonderful. Haruhiku sings and dances around with his instrument, doing his best to keep out of the way of the flailing Masumi, who is a blurring, whirling, crashing, bashing maelstrom of a performer, a jaw dropping virtuoso. At the climax of each song she leaps up, hovers above her kit and crashes down upon it with a triumphant “Yi!” We’re some distance from Meg White, it’s fair to say.

By the end of their tumultuous set, both musicians are stood atop the drum kit, bashing away at the metal beneath them. A storming end to the evening, and to 2009.

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