17 Jul 2018
Pop Matters reviews Supersonic Festival
Then I moved to Stage 1 as Housewives were preparing to take the stage. The experimental post-punk/noise rock entity came to the stage amidst brilliant purple lights that created a very hazy ambiance. The setup on stage was also unusual, with the band utilizing less space and playing tightly close together. The two guitarists were opposite each other, while the drummer was placed just behind them. Their unique blend of Swans-ian no-wave with their use of unconventional instruments (saxophone being one of them) produced a brilliant result. The performance was transcendental, and the focal point soon became the rhythm and its various manipulations. Through their experimental post-punk scope, they created these impressive build ups and then completely break them down with erratic renditions. To enrich the towering rhythm section, the band explores sonic textures through the heavily processed instruments and vocals. With a great grasp on dynamics, it felt like the music came alive through their performance.
After Group A's performance Gum Takes Tooth began exploring the boundaries of what is sonically possible in Stage 3. At that point, I was moving between Stage 1, where Modern Ritual was taking place, and Stage 3 so I did not get the full extent of Gum Takes Tooth performance. For the part that I saw it was an exercise in extreme electronica, taking on techno structures and reconfiguring to a dramatic extent. Filled with energy, the band moved confidently through this maniacal set and set the bar fairly high.
After a break for the Dennis McNett procession, the stage was set for Gnod. The Manchester band is renowned for some of their early performances, which have included a dizzying 15 band members on stage to perform their hypnotic drone music. Today, however, they have cut down on this expanding outlook and instead provide a more condensed and direct assault. Gnod's sound was heavy as shit, with the amps kneeling under the heavy riffs. The sound comprises many diverse colors, from the grey sludge weight of the guitars, the bright lights of the psychedelic rock scene and the ultraviolet essence of Krautrock. Tribalistic pacing and a grunge influence complete the band's sound and the first part of their performance was truly astonishing.
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