Saturday, October 24, 2009


East Brunswick Club

Rain canes the streets outside, but within the EBC another world, one where life and art merge in blood red and pitch black. No art-form left unwielded, The Red Paintings Animal Rebellion tour is as sincere as it's ringleader who is unquestionably on form and in command tonight.
Spazmoo entertain the enthusiastic Red Paintings fans who arrive early (many sporting their sweaters and an assumed dark elegance that some would describe using a word that rhymes with Fimo) with a sound that could only be described as incredibly grunge; a more riff-oriented Primus fronted by Eddie Vedder. An enthusiastic Jack (guitar-tech for the Red Paintings) inspires proceedings with a vibrant guest appearance but overall it's very samey and seems like a stepping stone for the talent within the band.

Battle Circus are an oddity both visually and sonically. As with Spazmoo it's more a case of linking double-kick underpinned riffs together to create a needlessly groove-less and complex 'song', or in this case 'journey'. Kiwi psychedelic metal is never going to be a huge genre but should you ever feel the need for some, these guys (and girl) have it covered. Most songs go for between five and ten minutes and psychedelic™ projections totally fail to distract from the mad ecstasy writ large across the face of keyboardist Yvonne Wu, and, like the trip they seem to be on, there are many great views but no chance to stay and enjoy them.

Lights out and a wolf slinks across the stage. So begins the multimedia orgy that is a Red Paintings show. Cactus-like trees populate the stage, blank canvases adorn the walls, wolf howls fill the air and finally the painted and kimono-clad band arrive with singer Trash McSweeney in the guise of Red Riding Hood. This outfit works, as cheers and screamed declarations of love replace wolf howls and the band dive into their new EP's title track Feed The Wolf. Dry ice billows, a ten-eyed stag stands in the front row and the band gather steam via a compelling rendition of Fall Of Rome during which Trash introduces the evening's artists who begin working on the canvases and the body of the wolf who is now revealed to be a girl painted black. A giant wristwatch hypnotises the audience as they go into The Streets Fell Into My Window, a light sabre burns for Dead Children, a man dressed as God casually reads from a Ladybird book of Noah's Ark, slipping in modern ecological references. The stage is littered with odd props, an animal (rabbit?) foetus in a jar, a toy mouse on it's side in a running wheel; it all makes for an intoxicating combination which the (largely teen and early-20s) crowd love.

Finishing the first sequence with a very RATM-style political rant called The Revolution Is Never Coming, there follows a costume change and possibly their best song, the mournful We Belong In The Sea which, regardless of opinion of the size of McSweeney's ego or methods of doing business (his funding the bands recordings by asking listeners for money seems to be a hot topic), is a great and affecting song. The show closes with a brief manic conga line and the thrill of The Chase which stops no one from baying for more. It seems this rebellion is picking up.

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