The Sugarettes, Space Siren and Wolvon - TAC, Eindhoven, 13/04/12

 

 

 

Back at TAC! TAC, (or the Temporary Arts Centre) is Eindhoven’s premiere groovy establishment for those of a make do and mend disposition. It’s not a place for the well-heeled and certainly it’s one of those spaces that draw sneers from those who wouldn’t know what an alternative venue was if it gave them the proverbial haircut, but Incendiary likes it. And TAC it seems likes Incendiary, as we’d been asked to deejay, or in our case: play songs from CD’s more or less ineptly… What’s more, we’d been given a nice wooden bench to stick our choice of Musickes on, and lots of beer to help us along.

The night we were playing at was The Sugarettes’ release party for their tremendous second LP, Destroyers of Worlds, which has to be the most exuberant and demented guitar pop release of the year. Adding to the merriment was a mixed and interesting line up comprising of Space Siren and Groningen’s new space cadet force: Wolvon. Someone had scattered a load of heart shaped balloons (doubtless refereeing to Mariska and Joep’s explosive, new-found love which is the subject of the Suggies’ LP) and a sizeable crowd started to abstractedly kick them about before Space Siren came on to blast us all with their powerful vision of guitar rock.

Now we make no secret of liking Space Siren, they are a very fine proposition indeed; the making of their latest LP, the great Mr. Wagner Please Give Us A Call, seems to have propelled them from being a good band into a potentially great one. It’s very easy to say that the ebb and flow of electric noise they deal in is reminiscent of MBV, or Sonic Youth but that would totally overlook their incredibly romantic and pastoral vibe. This lot really do deal in romance with a capital R, despite their quiet onstage demeanour. More and more (to me, at least) they sound like a supercharged, NoWave take on The Incredible String Band or Amon Düül 2, their tough, handcrafted song structures proving sleek and Arcadian in equal measure. This was also a gig where Gwen’s voice just stood out like a siren, I’d never really noticed just how crystal clear – or seductive - it was until tonight, maybe it was a little higher up in the mix, maybe she added a bit more oomfph but bloody hell, at times during the gig it was spine tingling. The band also deal in patience, they aren’t a band that needs to resort to crowd pleasing tricks, and it was noticeable by the end the applause had got more vociferous and people were cutting some rug (or jigging about a bit) to their tremendous D.A.F. cover, Verschwende Deine Jugend which happily found its way back into the set.

Following the Siren, it was time for the Suggies. Now where Space Siren deals in creating elegant and tough soundscapes, The Sugarettes can be all over you like a great big puppy, wanting to be loved, occasionally tripping up but always righting themselves and winning through. I’d not seen them for around five years, and despite Marjolein replacing Cox on bass their overall vibe has remained fundamentally the same on this showing. There’s something so appealing about them, their gawkiness and shambolic nature, their sheer friendliness - as usual Mariska engaging the crowd in some cosy chat - always righted by their utterly tremendous songs. It is all about the quality of their songs, especially now… when they did play old tracks such as Claps, these sounded stilted and unformed in comparison to the heady stew of the Destroyers material. No, they have a powerful groove nowadays; the rhythm section has a presence, a clatter and a funk about it that it didn’t before. I think this has to do with the nature of the song structures as they need to be belted out, and also the bass and drums need to emotionally support the message being driven by the dual protagonists on lead and rhythm guitar. You also get the feeling that these new tracks were worked out as a band, not as one person sat in a room with a tape recorder. Whatever, they can get quite a steam on and despite the odd moment this was, of course, an enjoyable and typical show.

Last up we had Wolvon, who we weren’t able to take in fully last time we saw them at OT301. This time they were beset by difficulties with a protesting and seemingly dying amp then a mild, unintentional deconstruction of the drum kit - we got a lot of screaming feedback and dry humour as the band diligently tried to sort themselves out. Once out of the starters’ blocks, and freed from the nightmarish squealing of the amp, Wolvon started to create a spacerock that hinted it could, with time, develop into something of fairly epic proportions. Their loud and sometimes dissonant textures have something mighty and durable – their tracks are like elastic, they can be stretched, or let loose at some speed across a room. They can make a right mess too. It helps they have a sensibility which is leading (however unwittingly) towards a stroll down the paths that Klaus Schultze’s Ash Ra Tempel, AR Kane and Sun Ra skipped along all those years ago and yes, I like their unrestrained, abstract and energetic vibe. I think if they lost that element of chaos that at present is core to their collective being, or tried to iron it out, they’d be in trouble. As it is they make a mighty noise.

After this Incendiary tried to engage the remnants of the crowd into the black arts of dancing along to Krautrock’s more obtuse moments, but with limited return. Then it was off to supposedly notorious but ultimately friendly boozer La Folie to hang out with the bands and finally stagger home to bed. Can't beat fun, can you?