Upset! The Rhythm
Cutting Pink With Knives, No Age, Gay Against You, and Dan DeaconEdit this event
Away from the humdrum, withdrawn from sanity, Upset! The Rhythm have been curating these events round London nether regions all year, with stateside spectacles (Dirty Projectors, HEALTH, Gang Gang Dance) lining up alongside the finest slew of artists from the UK’s cesspit of deranged noise (Munch Munch, PRE, Birds Of Delay). If ever there were a signpost to the eclectic nonsense going on at U!TR events, as hundreds descended upon Tufnell Park’s echo hall The Dome, it felt like this evening was it.
Gay Against You’s usual scything electronic scramble and costume change tangles follows on from the teenage tantrum skulduggery that Cutting Pink With Knives opened events with, roaming around open hall space, a seizure-ridden rendition of ‘Laser Hannon’ hailing down like Hale-Bop upon diseased minds. Picking from Muscle Milk’s frenetic sprawl, GAY’s bleating beats crash like piñata’s packed with Commodore’s pelted belligerently, hardcore-cum-happy hardcore, coming to a close with Germlin and Yoko Oh No offering out their instruments to the audience, caped cabbage-brained cretins goading onlookers with their sugar-soaked disco-noise disarray.
Eyes twitch and heads flick to the side of the hall and an idle grotto. Out appears John Maus, suitably housed as his hollow-hearted bawl rings out as ‘My Whole World Is Coming Apart’ opens, reverb drenching his vocal. Never has comrade Ariel Pink’s proclamation that Maus “is a maniac on a bloody crusade” sounded more apt as fists pump, enlightened; a preacher with his feet stuck in the same swamp as Pink’s new romantic cohort Haunted Graffiti. For every moment Maus seems on the verge of teetering too close to inane, there is one that captivatingly sucks you back in to his sad world.
This relentless tirade continues as Los Angeles’s finest rapscallions No Age drag attentions back to the main stage. As Randy Randall’s chiming undercurrents waver under Dean Spunt’s mechanical percussion and throaty vocal it’s a cute close to a year that has seen the duo’s casual release of Weirdo Rippers pick up prestige and to end up herald as one of the best records of ‘07: not bad for a collection of EPs. Short glances with new material get offered up; faster in pace, akin to ‘Boy Void’, and an immediate assault that suggests the big ideas waiting in the wings from Sub Pop’s newest darlings. Towards the end hands are held out as men mount the stage, promptly filled as pedals are crushed under clumsy footed oiks and events come to a fittingly ramshackle finale, distorted hooks continuing to gently wrestle with mind.
And so, with his usual stall of electronics set up in the centre of the venue, Dan Deacon, rotund pied piper leading feeble-minded men off nearby cliffs, begins his incessant brand of unhinged glitch-pop. Deacon’s open-armed inclusiveness is symbolic of the evening as people start to dance like no-one is looking. This is no scene, but a collection of people that don’t give a shit what you’re thinking, throwing shapes as gabba beats knock chaotically against Deacon’s jackanory rhymes.
Bodies gather round and close off glimpses of the Baltimore Lord Of The Dance, tonight sporting a soft beard that provides him with an inappropriate air of austerity. As the role of children’s entertainer and musician merge bodies circle the ringmaster, and from Deacon’s bunker come demands for all to run amok, colliding in an afterschool mid-afternoon delirium. With crib sheets handed out to accompany ‘Wham City’, the assembled choir chants out “there is a mountain of snow, beyond the big glen...”, bellowed out with vigour, therapeutic, as brains turn a soft pulp inside cemented skulls.
Instructions from Deacon ring out as the crowd ebbs away from his stall so individuals can loop round the hall. Playtime’s soon over; an appropriate close. Flailing bodies fall to the floor, left exhausted and utterly invigorated.
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