Saturday, 10 August 2013

Cold Cave and Natural Assembly at Electrowerkz - 08 August 2013

Wesley Eisold (Cold Cave)

It's like riding a bicycle. You never forget. It's over six weeks since I last saw a gig and I almost wonder if I've grown out of it.

Fortunately, I take to the late night and hard rhythms like cats take to the internet.

Electrowerkz is as dark and angularly forbidding as ever. It's mottled with graffiti and appears to be passing itself off as the hold of a 'Nostromo' type space ship. It's a good look, although you feel that you would need a tetanus shot if you cut yourself.

There is so much theatrical mist and opaque lighting onstage that it is unclear (literally) whether the support band are performing or not. However, when Natural Assembly arrive there is no room for doubt.

The pair are clad in the dark, vaguely militaristic garb of a legion of industrial bands. It's the Henry Ford School of Rock- any colour you like, as long as it's black. We're in safe hands.

This is a classic electronic sound dating back to the very early Eighties. The beats are simple but harsh, there’s a mistrust of complexity and everything rumbles along like the motor on a giant refrigerator.

Singer Jesse Cannon prowls through the murk. He's not got an obviously melodious voice, but rather sing/shouts as though he was bawling abuse after a departing taxi. It suits the music.

Natural Assembly are roughly hewn, but they have recognisable songs and a winning enthusiasm. They sort of remind me of Visage but without an iota of pretention or foppery. Good for them.

In some respects I could almost repeat the same remarks in relation to headliners Cold Cave.

Once again the music is firmly referencing the early days of what would become the industrial/electronic sound. Wesley Eisold and Amy Lee are going right back to first principles, to the days when the Cure were pedalling Pornography and jackets were leather and covered in studs.

Wesley Eisold cuts a dash onstage. Right from the off, he's crashing around with such fierce abandon that for a second I think that he's drunk. He's not, he's just so awkward and committed that he's forever getting entwined with his mike stand or stumbling across in the gloom to bash at a few buttons or consult with Lee. He's both tough and weirdly vulnerable at the same time.

The music blasts and thrums like a runaway train. You can hear the squeal of complaining machinery in every note, every jack hammer beat.

Although mostly as rigidly black and white and stark as all industrial music, there are flashes of light. Literally so when for one song the stage is gradually lit with the image of bright yellow sunflowers and Eisold is illuminated in the golden glow.

For me the big moment of the night comes with 'Icons of Summer' with its refrain of "I can't Keep Falling Down". There's real anguish and frustration here and it’s a great track.

I'm back on the gig beat again and I won't be away as long again. Cold Cave and Natural Assembly are an excellent way to get start. 


Anonymous said...

Nice review of a great gig

Alan said...

A mixed blend of people at this eerie venue all sharing one passion! Amazing gig.