Coin-OpEdit this event
At the first drone, people stop drinking, stop talking, stop eyeing up the girl by the bar and walk forward, called to the mothership, ready to pay homage to the rectangular craft splashed in orange and purple light before them.
Eventually a two-headed drum kit breaks the rumbling monotone, and we have lift-off. Trans Am have co-opted Chris recently as second drummer cum spare musician to play the extra parts the band wrote for TA, and he joins main drummer Sebastian for opener Bonn, the two drummers playing what looks like a single kit, smiling to each other as they lock down the rhythm. It’s a high-energy moment, the drumming punctuated by Sebastian’s primitive rap (in what sounds like Spanish) before it takes off in to a frenetic drum guitar climax and drones to finish.
Few gaps in this set tonight. Straight into the next two tracks, a cheery ‘hello London’, and then You Will Be There a rockier tune from *TA*, sung by Sebastian, that bounces along in an 80s rock band fashion, the guys at the front bouncing along in kind.
Then Positive People, another track from TA, with is Clangers-style vocal line, Chris at the front on keyboards, his curtain of hair flopped all over his face, rotor toms whirring like an airplane’s propeller gone funky. Phil is on bass. He smiles a lot. He’s having a good time. Tells us a joke, even.
Aftermath next, the track that was written the day after that plane crashed into the Pentagon, starting slow with its moody keyboards and 50s style steel guitar, then suddenly adding distortion to the main riff. You don’t need to know what the track is about to feel the battlefield. At its most poignant moment, the effects come off half way through a phrase leaving behind a starkness, leaving the bass to pick up the refrain. Beautiful.
And more. A theatrical rockout, a Krautish drone, a heavy metal bass line, ten minutes of a soundscape that is actually three songs back to back. Sebastian bows his kit to his fingers’ command, spraying beats like leaves in a wind. A posse at the front picks them up and dances. Vocals come and go, sometimes vocodered, sometimes naked, once even sounding like a tribal African yelp without a whiff of world music. The new ‘fourth member’ sits on various instruments, then is once more the drum kit’s extra head, the two drummers this time playing the same beats, grinning when they temporarily slip away from each other. It’s rock, mum, but not as we know it.
Yup. A great night all in all, if pipped slightly by the Hackney Ocean gig, where despite their apparent love of scuzzy venues, Trans Am’s music seemed better set off by the clean, modernist backdrop.
The only disappointment is that I only caught the last few numbers from supports Coin-op. Presumably on the bill because they could be described as ‘electronic’, and because they are celebrating an imminent album launch, Coin-op have a more obvious place in the current British rock pantheon. Good gig, from the little I caught of it. One minute droning, the next punk nasty, they are arty to the extent that they will happily stand their guitarist in the corner give him a couple of snares to bash at, or sit their frontman (the one that looks a bit like a Hanson) behind a keyboard, and punk to the extent that, well, they sound like Iggy in places. Worth leaving home for, that’s for sure.
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