Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Brainwash Festival IV

Last weekend was brilliant. It was the bee's knees. It was the bird's turd. It was as if the concept of awesome manifested itself into a two-day bonanza of musical ecstasy.

First, on Saturday, was the brain-melting Brainwash Festival IV at Leeds. Now this is a weekend-long (I guess in Leeds weekends start from Thursday) celebration of good music and good people. But we could only manage to go on Saturday. But it was still a brilliant brainwash of bollocks-free music.

The first band we saw was Shoeface with three (yes, fucking three) drummers and three guitarists and one bassist (or is it two guitarists and two bassists?), and it was a twenty-minute non-interrupted, hallucinogenic, continuous, epic journey into the deeper recesses of the brain. Or you could just say they performed only one really, massively long song.


The next band were the terrific Talons, who - aside from the compulsory guitarist, bassist and drummer - has two violinists. Violence with violins, I would say. They were all dressed up in tissue paper and animal masks for halloween, posing as mummified animals for the show. But hey, they don't need no gimmick to make an impression. The haunting violin duet coupled with the technicality and brilliance of their music is good enough to make a lasting first impression and a desire to see them again in the near future.


Next were the local Leeds band, the woeful Wonderswan. They were uninspired, a bit cliched, and unforgivably dull. Or maybe it's unfair of me to compare them with the likes of Talons, Tubelord and Blakfish. They are, after all, playing a different kind of music. It might just not be my cup of tea. I tell you what's not my cup of tea as well. A lack of showmanship and any connection with the audience.


Then came Monster Killed By Laser. I was half-expecting a Gallops-sounding affair from the vaguely awesome band name, but they were not nearly as good as Gallops. It wasn't bad, just not amazing as well. Nothing to write home about. Or write a blog about.

Monster Killed By Laser

After Monster Killed By Laser, we decided to get out for some fresh air and get some chips from the chip shop. We completely missed Bear Driver, but hey, it was fine. We had fucking Tubelord to look forward to. And right after the chip shop, we got back to The Brudenell Social Club with Tubelord setting up the stage.

This is our first experience with Tubelord's new bassist, Damien, who is quite an able replacement for Sean. I like him. It took some getting used to, but I think he's a great addition to Tubelord.

Damien is this guy

That's Dave

And that's Joe, and those three are the Tubelord guys

They started out with a new song we've never heard before, the same one they were going to play the next day when we see them in York. Tubelord is pretty fucking reliable when it comes to wanting to make you dance and mosh at the same time. Joe said to Pill that the reason why they don't publish lyrics is because it's lovely for everyone to be singing something different, and they're all right. Well, I won't argue with his logic. I just like singing (more like shouting) random stuff back to them. Of course if I know the words I would follow them words, but hey, Tubelord's main agenda is probably to confuse you with cryptic, willingly-incomprehensible lyrics and music videos about mooses falling in love with bears.

We chatted with them for quite a while, especially with Dave and Joe, even while they were packing their equipment into their loan car, as their van had broken down. They're really great people, and even dedicated a song to us (it was 'Somewhere Out There A Dog Is On Fire', which is Pill's favourite song). It made us feel special. And that wasn't the first time. In Southsea, they dedicated a song to Pill, and even though they got it wrong (they played 'I Am Azerrad' instead, which is my favourite song), we were still chuffed and even managed to get an apology from them for messing up her request. There's more Tubelord excitement in my next post when they came to York on Sunday with Crazy Arm.

This is the song that they dedicated to us (more specifically, Pill). Not my video

After the incredible set by Tubelord, came This Town Needs Guns. This is the second time we've seen them live. The first was when Lost From Atlas supported them in York. We chatted a bit with the drummer from Lost From Atlas at one point, and he recommended that we see Jonquil and Vessels, the former of which we've seen supporting Foals, and they were brilliant. Then we had this jokey argument about whether Vessels or Tubelord were the best band ever.

Oh wait, back to This Town Needs Guns. I was recuperating at the back while they were doing their stuff, and while I wasn't in the thick of the action, I could still tell they were really, really good.

[not my video]

This Town Needs Guns

We decided after This Town Needs Guns, that we needed a change of place, so we went to Royal Park Cellar just down the street to catch Blakfish. We were about half an hour early, so we managed to catch We Vs Death, described by Wikipedia as "a Dutch instrumental post-rock band, founded in 2000." They're from Utrecht, to be exact, and apparently they've been to Leeds quite a few times already. Pill got a copy of their new album for almost nothing because they're that nice. And their music is hauntingly beautiful. Wait, did Wikipedia say they were instrumental? Because I'm sure I heard them singing.

We Vs Death

Then right after We Vs Death were the brilliant Blakfish in what was probably one of the most memorable shows of the festival. Everytime we've seen Blakfish something completely crazy happens. As was the case in this one. The crowd invaded the stage, and there were twenty people fighting for the chance to sing into the mic, including yours truly and Pill.

The pictures after this point are after the invasion of the stage.


I love intimate venues a thousand times more than stadium arenas, and that night really showed why. We sang into the mic with the vocalist and five more people, all sharing one mic. We moshed, we loved it. It is when you truly feel like you've become a part of something bigger than yourself, when the euphoria and the adrenaline kicks in at the same time as that explosive guitar riff, that incredible drum solo and as the crowd poured onto the stage, as the guitarist flew above the crowd on a sea of supporting hands, as you look and smile to the crowd, you realise this is what music is about. Connecting with people, with strangers you've never met and probably never will again.

The show with Blakfish ended up leaving us exhausted. So we decided to go back to The Brudenell Social Club because they had comfortable seats.

That's when we saw Hot Club De Paris who hails from, if it's not that obvious, Liverpool. Now we weren't paying too much attention to these guys because we were extremely tired from Blakfish. But from what we heard when we did pay attention, they were catchy and danceable. I can't give them a fair judgment right now. But go check them out anyway.

Hot Club De Paris

The last band we saw was Pulled Apart By Horses, a band who are notorious for their live performances. From the two songs that we stayed for, they were, to say the least, energetic. Now it's not their fault that we left early. We were just exhausted and wanted to catch the last train to York without running to the station. But next time, I'll definitely want to catch these guys live and see if the hype is justified.

[not my video]
Pulled Apart By Horses

I know this post is massive, and it took me quite an effort to write this, so I decided to do the next gig separately. I will probably do it tonight. And I've managed to get local band, A Band Once, to agree to an interview. I still haven't the questions though. I will do, in due time. Tubelord with Crazy Arm gig review next.

Signing out

Over and out

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