As to the rest, well you can SMELL the perfume in the conditioner they used. These cats are SCRUBBED, me hearties. What to do about that? Well they can watch the fucking Sugar Coated Mindbombs, that’s what.
SUB you old devil, just at the point where you think things can’t throw you anymore curve balls up you pop and surprise us. In the decennia to come, when this space has either been concreted in to support some ludicrous new manifestation of consumer capitalism, or whether it lies quietly corroding underwater as the rest of the world sinks, or fries, the haven of the small amoebic life forms that will outlive us all, I hope it maintains some semblance of its shamanic properties. Truly SUB is a portal into another dimension, however briefly, however murkily.
Enough of this typische werkschuwe, langharige, scheisse-potting about Mr F! Sirrah! Desist! Do the review!
Well there is a reason I started with the bombast. You see, it’s a quiet Tuesday night gig, with two local acts on – the mighty SCMB and Droppings - that I’m NOT expecting anyone to see. So I turns up all smug and underground and in the know and postmodern and Holy Smoke ye place is packed to the gunnels; probably to see the headliners, Italy’s Go!Zilla, a rocking, scuzzy, garage band with something of a reputation. Even if that were the case SUB is STILL full of people who you’d see shopping on a Saturday afternoon, student types for sure but well-appointed all the same. I even see a fellow researcher of the arcane, out with her boyfriend... As to the rest, well you can SMELL the perfume in the conditioner they used. These cats are SCRUBBED, me hearties. What to do about that?
Well they can watch the fucking Sugar Coated Mindbombs, that’s what. Maart and Michel take a little while to get warmed up, the usual fiddling, nodding and muttering before their gigs is almost part of the act now, as SCMB deal in cranking out propulsive noises that only come out to play if they’re unforced and feel like they want to come and meet people. This gig starts off like some slow meditative work out, and on reflection, we may be getting some rumble that owes more to some 1968, Ash Ra after-burn than the snarling, snorting punk blasts I’d expect from them. Then, an unexpected twist whereby Martin forces a beat onto Michel’s bass lines and a sort of groove is worked out – one with a number of differentiations – that lasts the gig. At times the bass and drums do meet on a sort of abstract level, a plain of white noise that suddenly dips and swoops back towards that merciless beat. And, as ever, they catch the audience unawares; and they eventually start to move people. Why do people, who would not normally get this explosion of noise, get Sugar Coated Mindbombs? Well, maybe because they ty to express every atom of their sound? Maybe.
Then a quick switch and we have Droppings. We love their fine EPs, both enjoyably brash and occasionally surreal explorations into the hoary old motherload known as noise rock. And they’ve added a singer, a snotty looking girl. This opens up their sound on the night by a fair degree. Where we expected yowling and shouting we get these scornful, wailing put downs, and some sort of subterranean punk loathing; said singer pulling shapes and attitudes like one of the band’s got dog shit on their shoes. There’s something very space-punk about them, you do feel they could get beamed up to another planet, or go into some cod, psychobilly B52s workout. Think the angularity and attitude of Pylon stretched out and left to warp and blister in the sun; it’s as if they are – by blending a truckload of over-smart instrumental wankery and a love of making a racket – trying to find some snotty, bitchy abstraction through a wall of noise. We wish them luck!
Finally it’s time for Go!Zilla, who must be the band who have packed this room. They trade in a very fashionable sound, that of 1966 garage rock, as recently reified by Thee Oh Sees, Segal et al. But before you look away in search of further kicks, we must warn you that on the evidence of the night’s gig, this lot are pretty tremendous. More than that actually, as they can hammer out a sound to great effect, despite them being, well, tiny fellas. Their drummer is the key, thumping the skins with a passion and a primal energy that you’d imagine old John Ike Walton would have brought to the Elevators; (that’s if you listen to those hissy, muffled 65-66 bootlegs). This is meant as a high compliment. It also allows a massive backdrop for the two guitarists to fantasize and cut shapes in. And for the vocals to be howled through.... I mean, fuck knows what they sound like on record but with bands like this (witness said Elevators, M’Lud) it’s really not the point. It’s about capturing the moment and somehow adding a universal spin to it, opening up for an acceptance that, yet again, and after nearly 50 years, that these are the chords to play and this is the manner in which a band should play them. The place goes completely bananas for them, people being thrown around, wild dancing and merry making ensue and granddad here gets his hair ruffled by a few young shavers. Crowdsurfing? In the SUB? Believe. Top night, and well, wow... packed out!