Live Reviews

  No Babies, Eternal Fags, Gropetown, Neighbourhood Gout live at The 13th Note in Glasgow

This should have been easy. After all, the mere mention of the phrases noise-punk and no-wave implies that any commentary on melody, song structure or musical dexterity would be superfluous and words of disdain and contempt would soon be the order of the day. Should have been could have been but wasn’t.

Neighbourhood Gout put the boot in first and kicked the crap out of their own songs leaving these short, spiky and oblique sonic assaults on melody and structure that made you want to body slam yourself into the nearest wall. If music were to be a stimulant then you’d only be able to get Neighbourhood Gout on a prescription. Or from a dealer.

Gropetown went one step further. Take some male and female howling and engage the audience directly by abandoning the stage and you have the audio equivalent of a street fight.  Or a drive by shooting. The guitarist clatters through the crowd. The sound guy goes pale as he immediately spots 63 simultaneous health and safety violations. Gropetown’s set might well have been short and brutal but it was like getting plugged into the mains. Electrifying.

Eternal Fags, in contrast, were almost melodic. Nearly post rock in fact with the additional clear and present danger of some of their songs actually reaching the three minute mark. Then again, every chord change was like having a knife waved in front of you so I doubt you could listen to them whilst enjoying a nice cappuccino.

Time for the next car crash and colliding with the crowd (and resolutely refusing to wear seat belts) were No Babies.  This was a performance. The singer crashed to the ground. She howled in a manner that suggested derangement. The saxophone player blew freeform jazz and stalked the room like a B-move zombie looking for his lunch and this orchestrated dischord ensured that each song went looking for a fight with indifference.  I swear that the walls of this dingy basement looked like they were sweating or, at least, it smelt like the walls were sweating.  Some might call this uncompromising approach art but this was actually music of the people, by the people, for the people and it shall not perish from the earth anytime soon

Got to thinking of a way of summing the night up and there it was right in front of me for, spray painted on the back of a chair, is what Romeo said to Juliet on their first date:  You make me want to smoke crack.

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