An AlbatrossEdit this event
To say that there is excitement surrounding tonight's heavily sold-out show would slightly understate the situation. Fans have declared their intentions to sneak in, crawl through the back entrance, shin up through the windows and even, I shit you not, abseil through the skylight. After a flurry of varyingly successful sets at ATP and an intense show at the Garage, Lightning Bolt tonight bring their idiot-savant insania to Kilburn.
Two minutes in, my ears are safely stuffed with earplugs. Two songs in, my earplugs are safely stuffed in my pockets. To experience this partially doesn't feel right - I can hear the bass, lowered to a subterranean rumble, and the clatter of the drums, but it's not enough. Lightning Bolt aren't about songs, or specific melodies that you can cling onto even without the screaming, damaging intensity that characterises them; they ARE that screaming intensity, high end colliding with low end colliding with a rapacious scribble of drums, every rhythm in history painted into one garish tableau. This is the whales taking revenge on the Japanese, bass rumbling and tweeting and clicking demonically; it's titans playing pinball with the planets, tilting the galaxy for extra, forbidden points, it's prog and three-chord punk multiplied to the nth degree, superimposed over themselves 'til their lines form an impenetrable thicket.
This isn't any noisy band, this isn't even about noise at all; there is no noise. Noise is what you get when sound doesn't make sense anymore, and all of this makes sense, in a warped, lawless, six-dimensional kind of way. Nothing is indistinct, these millions of rhythms are crystal clear, but to try and replicate them with your own hands against your thighs or stomach or elbows is to force your brain and muscles into overdrive. To try and grasp the thousands of notes pouring, flooding over you is to send your mind into system shock. Lightning Bolt are one very simple opposition: drums and bass bounced off each other like nuclear fission until something violent and unconceivable happens. Remember, as a kid, folding a piece of paper in half again and again, until you couldn't fold it anymore? Lightning Bolt are the kids that kept on folding regardless, that folded until the unfortunate scrap of paper entered negative space, turned into a singularity, even, and started sucking in every other kid's piece of paper, and the other kids themselves.
An hour later, my throat has swallowed itself, I've lurched off the stage onto the floor, and my shoulder is pressed against the towering amp stack behind them, while my left ear sobs in vain for respite. The bassist is grinning at me and thwacking me with the neck of his guitar, the drummer has yanked the entire kit further into the middle of the room, and the mayhem continues to swirl around him. Where do you go to next after this? Lightning Bolt are that rare band that can leave you stupefied, without options; after an hour in their company, what else compares? If this isn't the best gig of the year, the rest of 2006 promises incomprehensible things.
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