Lovvers and HEALTHEdit this event
Life’s alright with Upset! The Rhythm.
Throwing up another stellar line-up, all was initially scuppered with news of an omission. Stuck in Portugal after having his passport stolen, Dan Deacon must cut a lonely figure wandering the streets of Coimbra; a forlorn neon-clad eggman away from the action. But U!TR roped in a gem in the Baltimore berserker’s absence. Stamping on your skull, bludgeoning all with their putrid punk jams, Lovvers’ call is one through a wave of toxic waste. Down in the crowd, Shaun Hencher’s haggard larynx is canvassing for votes with a flailing fist recklessly waved past chins, all hustle but with no-one playing game. Pop nuggets among the carnage, Henry Withers’ modest hooks crop up amidst the stink of ‘Wasted Youth’ like rhodendrums through peeping through a sewage heap.
Stepping out of The Murder Of Rosa Luxemburg’s hulking shadow and without enough room for the recent appropriation of Wire’s ‘Mannequin’, it’s as much a showcase for material from the forthcoming EP as it is the lugging riffs of their previous An Impossible Object record as the Nottingham outfit flirt wildly between stunted DC hardcore and _Bleach-era Nirvana. After Hencher’s mutant croak of “we’ll take your milk” on ‘Laughing Man’ they ride out on their “eight-minute epic”, ‘The Boys Club’.
One minute later they’re gone. Truly, toxic crusaders.
Colossal blows stripping away your sanity, HEALTH have honed their game, whether the shrieking anthrax-induced pines, obliterating industrial noise or the deadened march of BJ Miller’s staunch percussion. Soon the bludgeoning assault of ‘Triceratops’ is hailing down with each totemic strike like separate blows to the head. Health remains one the defining records of the last few years, a crushing tyrant of a record, visceral yet laced together by hardcore noise architects. In previous performances the LA act have struggled to transmit the methodical clout of the record to stage, sometimes swamped in tide of crippling electronic pines like a piñata packed with Roland goods being kicked about. No longer is that the case.
If anything, it all shows that the recent revision of their debut for HEALTH/DISCO - where their brutal brilliance was reworked to hang disco baubles from their lobes - is no match for the original having siphoned off far too much remarkable raucousness. As with performances in the last few months, new material is aired and it’s difficult to work out whether their latest pursuits are anthemic or desperate. But any megalomaniac tendencies soon ebb away, with such a straight-laced approach soon replaced by trademark former glories, the usual unholy screams cloaking the parade before a triumphant _‘Tabloid Sores’ rears up.
At one point bassist and general noise terrorist John Famiglietta stares vacantly into the crowd through feathered hair as if lost in the moment. As the sterilizing racket ricochets round Jake Duzsik’s vacant yelps before the detached, gut-beaten juggernaut picks itself back up and charges off again their volatile rhythms are perfectly presented in the form of the blistering outing of ‘Perfect Skin’.
Having the sense to call it quits before all tire, this was HEALTH lifting a conquering fist to the sky, the perfect execution with brains left in tatters, nothing more than empty sponges.
Finally, head up the evening’s showcase piece. You can’t keep good guys down. Dean Spunt’s harsh vocal is as worn as ever, and partner Randy Randall’s teasing hooks are swamped but these are anthems that shine through the shit, as No Age hurtle through their usual fair a collage of humble riffs pasted over vacant drone not far removed from Yellow Swans’ negligent tide. But with nostalgic kicks for all, diving neck-first into the pit for ‘Everybody’s Down’, Randall soon whips the errant young tykes down the front into fits, the young darlings leaping up on stage for some madness away from mother minutes later, far removed from the usual U!TR show golf-clappers that come out to suck on Smell offspring and drown LA noiseniks in polite applause. Instead, these hyped kids are eating it up, with clumsy toddler toes eventually cutting short the guitar for ‘Neck Escaper’ with Spunt charging on regardless, a powerhouse decked in tie-dye.
Ploughing through the drone-pop pursuits of Nouns, the duo remain flooded by floundering youths for the rest of the set, occasionally muscled off as moments of calm sweep in. This is not the former Wives cohort’s finest hour, nor anyone else’s on the bill this evening, but it’s all smiles and that’s what counts right? Working through the distorted sludge, No Age close with a couple of requests from the floor, most remarkably with their own ramshackle run through Urinals’ ‘Male Masturbation’. It’s another blatant nod to a hardcore heyday gone by, but subtley glimpsing some new terrain to call an idyll of their own.
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