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- HEALTH »
It’s not necessary for the man standing on the stage to have a face, for these few seconds at least – eyes, mouth, nose, all skin lost behind a veil of long black hair, the death throes of feedback turn his stance into a communicative one, conducting his gesture through the room’s wet air, floor and walls. It’s not like a mouth would be of much use to **HEALTH guitarist John Famiglietti anyway, and even now I’m at a loss to find the right letters… there’s something pretty base about what Famiglietti’s been doing for the last 80 seconds or so, scrabbling about on the floor screaming into drumsticks and drumming on FX pedals with microphones, but the scuffed knees and sweat are vindicated by this, now, like I said - hair falling over face, body stationary bar shoulders that rise and drop steady, sound’s dying out, a hollow victory over insurgent noise as crawling evolves to standing in the space of a minute.
HEALTH are incredible tonight. I’ve already used up a fair amount of words describing what the LA quartet do to a capacity crowd at Kilburn's Luminaire in last year's album review, but there are a few new observations worth making. Firstly, they’re somehow even tighter than they were when they visited the UK last year. Secondly, it becomes clear tonight just how valuable an asset BJ Miller is to this music, though why that wouldn’t be so clear before escapes me, you’d think the first thing you’d notice about a band is that the drums were being played by a giant.
**HEALTH – ‘/ / M \ \’ / ‘Zoothorns_’ @ Upset! The Rhythm, the Luminaire, London; Mayday 2008**
Thirdly, they’re going to get better – two new songs planted in the middle of tonight’s set are astounding, instantly recognisable as HEALTH but meeting the HEALTH//DISCO side of what they do half way, eminently, brutally danceable but with softer, reverb-deepened guitars mimicking the warming throat of boss-vocalist Jake Duzsik. Expertly worked into Health’s scratchy, quarrelling foundations, ‘Party Zone’ and ‘Death +’ remind me, along with the rest of the songs played out tonight, of that Brian Eno quote where he talks about the relationship between music and chaos. “I consider that what art does for you is that it constantly rehearses you for uncertainty. Something happened you didn't expect... Something happened that defied your expectations, even,” he told _Melody Maker in 1978. If that's so, HEALTH must foresee gloomy times ahead, all signs pointing to Doomsday but here, for now, thirty years later, HEALTH are bringing their Eno-influenced, kraut-organised chaos to London and defying the highest of expectations.
By the end I’m too drunk and spouting off in Duzsik’s ear about how fucking great his band are but he tolerates it long enough to tell me the names of those two new tracks and that they’ll appear on his band’s second album. HEALTH will be in Vienna tomorrow, but where did they begin? It seems implausible that such a well-conceived noise act could arrive from nowhere, as they seemed to last year. They spent a long time writing the album, says Duzsik, and a lot of thought and consideration goes into what they do. "It's not that sexy." Whether it is or it isn't is up to you, oh thee of feral mind, but in their various processes they manage to avoid many of rock’s weary clichés, marrying noise with a spastic dance to make both, in the moment, seem redundant. One tradition remains - as Duzsik packs away his gear a man in a hat is still hassling the sopping noisenik, keen to ensure that all four signatures are inked on the sleeve of HEALTH's debut record.
Photo by Claire Titley / Upset! the Rhythm
HEALTH’s DiS-sponsored tour dates:
3 Manchester Charlies Nightclub (w/ YACHT)
4 Leeds Brudenell (w/ Zombie Zombie)
5 Cambridge the Portland
6 *Nottingham *Bodega
9 *Dublin *Whelans
10 *Glasgow *Art School
11 *Newcastle *End Bar
12 *Brighton *the Freebutt (w/ PRE DJs)
10 London White Heat @ Madame Jojo’s
11 Liverpool Korova
12 London Old Blue Last DiS/Vice co-pro show (details)
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