sun 26/05/2019

Hey Colossus, Centrala, Birmingham review - lighting the experimental 2018 Christmas candles | reviews, news & interviews

Hey Colossus, Centrala, Birmingham review - lighting the experimental 2018 Christmas candles

Hey Colossus, Centrala, Birmingham review - lighting the experimental 2018 Christmas candles

Sonic oddballs welcome in the season of goodwill and excessive drinking

Hey Colossus - 'edgy atmosphere'Sam Wood

Capsule is the Birmingham outfit that is good enough to bring the avant-garde, the lairy and the down-right odd to the city every summer for the splendid Supersonic Festival. However, that isn’t the extent of their activities, as there are also Home of Metal events and one-off gigs to keep Midlands’ sonic explorers happy for the rest of the year. This weekend saw Capsule’s annual Christmas bash with sets from local psychedelic motorik-fiends, Matters; gentle free-jazzers, Yama Warashi; sharp and mischievous, high-speed punks, Youth Man; and sinister post-punkers Hey Colossus. All with between-set performances by the strange Ideas of Noise.

Ideas of Noise’s first set of the evening jammed the free-est of largely atonal jazz with a huge double bass, squawky saxophone and electronic interference, these musical misfits easing the audience into an evening of the sonically strange  while standing in front of all kinds of low-tech animated projections. Next, Bristol’s Yama Warashi offered a kind of understated motorik groove that is mainly chilled and spaced out but is often propelled by samba drumming sounds and saxophone loops that build into cacophonies and fall back. Strange tunes, like “Parallelogram” and “Happy Thing”, added dubby Japanese electro-pop to the mix, often veering towards Saint Etienne territory, and had plenty of the crowd swaying in a trance.

Ideas of Noises’ second set added violins and a trumpet to their line-up and launched into muddles of melody-free noise that seem to be less compositions and more musical meanderings on radio static. However, they were soon followed by local lairy punk-rockers, Youth Man. Their sound is usually sharp and cutting, but tonight the sound man wasn’t on their side and things were pretty swampy throughout their set, with the drums and bass carrying all before them and the vocals and guitar difficult to pick out. Nevertheless, they soldiered on and “Fat Dead Elvis”, “Valley Girl” and “Constantly” were all given the hardcore powerhouse treatment.

For their last set, Ideas of Noise reduced their line-up to trumpet and electronics and produced a minimalist drone that had shades of Sun Ra and Throbbing Gristle’s sounds. A strange electronic feedback-fed pulse ebbed and flowed and produced their most engaging piece for the evening.

Headlining the festivities was Hey Colossus: a band that looks like Talking Heads in their heyday but sounds like the sinister and malevolent post-punk of The Fall getting together with The Birthday Party. Kicking off with “Honest To God” with its swampy groove and off-kilter guitar and the pounding beat of “Back in the Room” from 2017’s The Guillotine album, Hey Colossus brought an edgy atmosphere to things, as Paul Sykes howled at the ceiling and the band locked into a fierce motoric groove. The demented country and western feel of “Black & Gold” gave a brief respite but things soon got harsh and brutal again. In fact, if this was a soundtrack for what we can expect in the UK during 2019, it’s time to batten down the hatches because things could get rough.

If this was a soundtrack for what we can expect in the UK during 2019, it’s time to batten down the hatches because things could get rough

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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