Monday, November 16, 2009


Monday, September 17, 2007 
The Tote

A sizable turnout are in place by the time Black Hundred take to the stage. A band that have been regularly playing to a middling crowd around various venues, buttonight's is likely to be a bigger gig of sorts. Opening with a sort of warm jazzy sparse Tortoise-like track, the taut rhythms and angular riffs that are their keynotes are in full effect. Though guitarist Nick Pledge rarely leaves the whammy bar alone, it's never used in an excessive way. The notes are played with but carefully supervised by an overarching sense of light and shade, which is something the whole band share and something that comes from experience which these guys have in spades. Sadly without the usual inclusion of Russell Fawcus on violin, the band are instead sounding less like a soundtrack to a cheese-free War Of The Worlds, and more like a soundtrack to lunar preparations in Iceland. With the introduction of vocals by the fourth track the band are starting to colour things in a more psychedelic way, all underpinned by the brutal sensitivity of drummer Jova and ruthless warmth of bassist James McGauran. Songs like Variations In Light sound more early Sunny Day Real Estate than Pink Floyd though, and the overall effect is totally unique. No reason at all they should be getting so few punters and Myspace hits.

Electric Jellyfish on the other hand are generating interest from overseas, particularly the US where they are about to abscond for a fascinatingly thorough tour. What exactly it is they do though, is a thing of mystery. Psychedelic post-punk experimental they say, and on record that is more accurate than the pre-Ipecac Mike Patton jazz-rock fusion they play tonight. Frustrating moments of occasional brilliance shine through with an almost Go Betweens jangle to some songs (new song Amnesia) and a layered Os Mutantes-feel to others, but then endless directionless guitar soloing, indiscernible vocals and a permanently jammed-on distortion pedal make things a bit impenetrable. Potentially after several listens this would make sense, but tonight it seemed a bit monochromatic. Single Not Fucking Right and another new one Peach On A Fellow sound great, but the fantastic B-side to their new single Goodnight - beginning promisingly enough with a change in dynamics via a strummed ukulele - is soon drowned out in another wave of distortion and all the layers gel in a tingly fuzz. The punters love it (particularly a girl who covered her Kevin 07 t-shirt with an appealing Electric Jellyfish one) and families were present, always an endearing sight. Hopefully, a heavy schedule of gigs to a bunch of Yankee strangers will tighten this potentially awesome ship.

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