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- ICA, London »
- Lightning Bolt »
Lightning Bolt are a bass and drums duo that sound like Sabbath. Sped up. And played down a drain. Last year's excellent 'Wonderful Rainbow' LP was a blistering mix of chugging, sludgy riffs and breakneck hardcore - made accessible by surprisingly melodic passages. It is, however, their ferocious live show that has earned Lightning Bolt their legion of fans.
You see, Lightning Bolt don't play to the audience - they play IN the audience. Drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson unleash their furious noise from the centre of the crowd itself. And towering over them is the tallest, widest, LOUDEST Marshall stack this side of a Darkness video. The ethos of bringing the noise to the people is key with this band and the lack of that traditional boundary between performer and audience creates one of the most astonishing live shows around.
Aside from the deafening volume, it's the physicality of the experience that is most striking about a Lightning Bolt gig. The crowd writhes and surges around the band, becoming a living, breathing extension of their songs. The energy the duo generate is transferred straight into the audience - overcoming the usual indie/art reticence. Have you ever seen people trying to crowd surf at the ICA?
Chippendale* attacks his drum kit in a frenzied fashion, yelling into a strange ski-mask/mic contraption that accounts for the screeching, hyper-distorted vocals, while Gibson* thrashes out tough, brutal basslines. Songs like 'Assassins' and 'Dracula Mountain' which are fearsome enough coming out of your crappy old boombox, become three-dimensional live.
By the end, people were screaming for the pure hell of it - speaking in tongues, complete with dead, fiery eyes. A brilliantly, beautifully violent affair, leaving the crowd with soaking t-shirts and the smiles of fifteen year olds smeared across their damp faces. Awesome.
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