26 Mar 2012

Review of Teeth of the Sea and Big Naturals (Anthroprophh) live at The Croft

Here is a nice review of Teeth of the Sea / Big Naturals (In fact Anthroprophh) at the Croft on March 22nd:

You can see the full review here

Think this was possibly gig of the year so far. Yep, that good. I’d been steeling myself for my second psychedelic drooooooning band of the week but found them to be nowhere near as psychedelic as I’d been expecting. Maybe that was because I’d seen White Hills two days previously who were very much the essence of all things psychedelic (in a musical form). So, to conclude before I’ve even really begun the review, it may not have been the best night of psychedelic music I’d witnessed during the week but It was deffo one of the best nights of swirling, building, crashing, driving, wall of sound type noises I’ve seen / heard for some time.

Having concluding before I’ve begun I think I’ll proceed by reviewing the gig back to frontish, headlining band first style.

So there we go, another great cacophonous noise band that I’ve wanted to see for a while & that I can now tick off the ‘list’ as having been seen. I like that this type music is becoming quite popular again (albeit in a minority way and assuming for the length of this review that you can be ‘popular in a minority way’), and I also like that people are referring to it as ‘experimental post rock’ now rather than ‘prog rock’. (Before anyone jumps in & cries something to the effect that how you’re tagged shouldn’t really matter, I agree, in essence, but in reality it kind of does really doesn’t it? It’d make a nonsense of Last.fm’s “stuff we think you’d like” algorithm’s otherwise & I kind of rely on them on occasions when I’m looking for lazily found ‘new soundz’).

Of course, music like this isn’t ever gonna be everyone’s cup of tea (or indeed the majorities cup of tea) but the people who do dig this kind of racket will definitely have Teeth Of The Sea marked down as one of the better proponents of the sound. Four ridiculously talented guys, they’ve now been together as a band long enough so they can kick shit out of their individual pieces of equipment, seemingly totally at random, yet also in perfect harmony with each other.

Proving how talented they are there was a lot of instrument switching going on. There was also the occasional appearance of a trumpet which added a slightly mournful* note to proceedings, although having said that overall the main feeling i was aware of, from quite early on in proceedings, was euphoria & I gave up trying to suppress the grin that kept on appearing on my face early on. (I should maybe point out I wasn’t trying to suppress the grin coz I didn’t want to look like I was enjoying myself, more coz I look a bit simple when I grin). *(With apols to trumpet fans who hate their instrument being stereotyped as ‘mournful’ - I know it isn’t always the case).

I try not to moan on here if I can avoid it but I do always find it a bit sad when a band don’t give us an encore, especially when I enjoy the band as much as this & especially when they finish well short of closing time. Ditto the Ceremony gig from the night before. There should be some rule about this, they played for long enough so there wasn’t a sense of feeling short changed at all, it’s just that having your encore hopes dashed always kind of hurts a bit. One of the most depressing things in life is that ‘soft lights going on, tinny music beginning’ moment at show’s. My problem anyway I guess, I should probably buck up & get real. Or something.

Supporting TOTS were long time South West favourites, the band Big Naturals. They weren’t supposed to be playing according to the Croft’s website so it was a hugely pleasant surprise to arrive & see them (replete with banana’s) setting up in the back room.

Big Naturals are a classic example of a band doing it for the love of the music. There’s no way they’re ever gonna make money doing this. “I’m only being paid £6 for this” one of the band members said when a member of the audience asked them something. It’s a shame though, they deserve if not to be massively famous at least to have a massive core fanbase. Ok, maybe not massive but at least big enough to fill up The Croft’s back room anyway. And that’s expecting less than it sounds because Big Naturals spurn the stage & set up shop right slap bang in the middle of the floor. Yep, where the audience are meant to be. It’s a brilliant ploy & one I’m surprised more bands don’t copy. It brings an intimacy & closeness to the bands crashing tumultuous sound that can’t be beaten. I imagine it could be quite scary to the uninitiated, or even just to those whose ears aren’t already shot to shit through a steady diet of at a least a couple of gigs a week, usually gig’s of a noisy bent. Selfishly, in a way I hope they never do become more popular coz that’d put an end to their setting up in the middle of the venue’s floor.

The fact that Big Naturals have been ‘noise jamming’ together for so long shows as they syncopate their individual cacophonies into one beautiful whole (bollocks, did I just say “syncopate their individual cacophonies into one beautiful whole”? think I need to go for a lie down), something they share with Teeth Of The Sea, for whom they made the perfect support. When I say ‘beautiful’ I should probably qualify that by explaining that I find the sound of huge walloping drums & the nonstop use of distortion pedals, feedback loops, effects boxes & oscillatory things beautiful.

Taking the experimental to the extreme the vocalist shouted some of his vocals through a mouthful of half eaten apple, a new one to me. (I’m presuming this was to achieve a certain sound rather than because he’d mistimed taking a bite out of his apple - fortunately you’ll probably never know if I’ve just made a tit of myself or not). Big Naturals vacillate between performing as a two & as a three piece. They are equally as good both ways. I so wish bands like this could get the recognition they deserve.

Having said that I wish more people were into them they don’t exactly make it easy for fans of their sound. Finding Big Naturals stuff online aint easy. Googling their name without the proviso ‘band’ afterwards brings up lots of pictures of breasts, most of which I suspect aren’t really natural at all (although I can’t deny that they’re invariably ‘big’) (not that I spent much time looking at them of course).