Into the Pit: 197: Summer Nights in Small Venues

For many, gigs in the heat of summer evenings are a tough sell, particularly in small venues (outdoor, festival shows of course are a different matter entirely). However, the summer is paradoxically a busy time for indoor shows, and two came up this week on consecutive evenings, and they were very different. Read more “Into the Pit: 197: Summer Nights in Small Venues”

Into the Pit: 196: Skinny Puppy: O2 Forum Kentish Town, NW5: 30-May 2017

The announcement of a European Skinny Puppy tour earlier in the year (“Down the Sociopath Too Euro 2017“) was, I have to say, a bit of a surprise. It has been seven years since their last UK appearances at least, and in the meantime they’ve released the excellent Weapon – but that was four years ago – and only last year cEvin Key was recovering from cancer surgery. Read more “Into the Pit: 196: Skinny Puppy: O2 Forum Kentish Town, NW5: 30-May 2017”

Into the Pit: 194: Sunn O))) – Barbican, London – 21-March 2017

I rather wondered, after the first time I saw Sunn O))) live, whether I could physically stand going a second time. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, it was just that the after-effects were like nothing I’d ever experienced after a gig. Read more “Into the Pit: 194: Sunn O))) – Barbican, London – 21-March 2017”

Memory of a Festival: 027: Cold Waves V

For the third year running – although it was a bit touch-and-go this year with the wedding and everything else, and my wife chose not to come along this time – the last weekend of September meant a trip 3,960 miles to the west of London. To the city of Chicago, to catch up with friends from far and wide, to enjoy a cool city…and attend Cold Waves, a festival of industrial music that commemorates, and celebrates, the life and loss of Jamie Duffy. It also raises a ton of money for good causes, and is generally a hell of a good time that has become a fixture in the calendar for many of us, no matter how far we have to travel. Read more “Memory of a Festival: 027: Cold Waves V”

Memory of a Festival: 026: Infest 2016

Over the weekend of this year’s Infest, there was some discussion over the current state of the industrial (and wider) scene. In many other scenes – or indeed in “mainstream” popular music, there is an air of nostalgia as record labels struggling with new sales, are relying heavily on reissues of the old, particularly on vinyl. Read more “Memory of a Festival: 026: Infest 2016”

Into the Pit: 193: Ruby – Live at Servant Jazz Quarters: London N16

Lesley Rankine’s career in music now spans a few decades, and more than a few styles. She first came to prominence in the vicious, no-wave influenced punkish-rock of Silverfish, a fixture of the Camden scene in the early 90s and unusual in their strident politics and just how confrontational they were. The band toured with Pigface, which drew Rankine into that loose collective, resulting in a couple of Pigface’s most memorable moments (in particular, the rampaging Silverfish track Big Bad Baby Pig Squeal became the iconic Hips, Tits, Lips, Power!).
Read more “Into the Pit: 193: Ruby – Live at Servant Jazz Quarters: London N16”

Into the Pit: 192: Laibach – Live at The Forum Kentish Town – 12-April 2016

I’m struggling to think of a single band in “our thing” that has had as much mainstream coverage – as in appearing in the news, not just in the music press – as Laibach did last year when their show in North Korea was announced.
Read more “Into the Pit: 192: Laibach – Live at The Forum Kentish Town – 12-April 2016”

Into the Pit: 191: The Black Queen – Live at Oslo Hackney – 05-February 2016

This was one of those gigs that I took a while to make a call on. The Black Queen is a new side-project very, very different from the “parent” band (Greg Puciato, the vocalist of The Dillinger Escape Plan has formed this with Joshua Eustis, a former touring member of Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer, and Steven Alexander, a tech of DEP among others), their newly released album Fever Daydream took a couple of listens to get hooks into my brain and I finally decided to get a ticket the morning of the show.
Read more “Into the Pit: 191: The Black Queen – Live at Oslo Hackney – 05-February 2016”

Into the Pit: 190: Massive Attack – Live at Brixton Academy – 03-February 2016

It is easy to forget, but Massive Attack are now very much veterans in the electronic music world. Formed as far back as 1988, they released one of the most perfect debut albums ever (Blue Lines), helped define “trip-hop” in the mid-90s (whether they wanted to or not), and then went a whole lot darker and heavier with the multi-million selling Mezzanine, before splintering somewhat over the following decade.
Read more “Into the Pit: 190: Massive Attack – Live at Brixton Academy – 03-February 2016”

Countdown: 2015: Gigs

2015 in gigs: 70 days, 165 live sets, 154 unique bands, forty venues, seven cities, four festivals (and each of those festivals in a different town/city), three countries, two continents. Read more “Countdown: 2015: Gigs”

Into the Pit: 189: 3TEETH – Electrowerkz N1 – 10-October 2015

It had been hoped-for for an age, and finally someone delivered. 3TEETH on tour in the UK. I made it to the hot, sweaty London show, and even managed to catch all of the bands.
Read more “Into the Pit: 189: 3TEETH – Electrowerkz N1 – 10-October 2015”

Into the Pit: 188: The Sisters of Mercy – Roundhouse NW1 – 18-October 2015

In some respects, it can’t be easy being Andrew Eldritch. But then, is there any other artist who has tried so hard to bury his own legacy? Back in the eighties, they were one of the Gothic Rock titans, releasing three wildly successful albums, having a major label deal and the power to pull in Jim Steinman to produce, not to mention the financial backing to make ridiculously overblown videos.
Read more “Into the Pit: 188: The Sisters of Mercy – Roundhouse NW1 – 18-October 2015”

Memory of a Festival: 025: Cold Waves IV

After an epic holiday in Chicago – ostensibly to do Cold Waves and catch up with old friends – last year (review in the box), there wasn’t ever really any question that we wouldn’t make it back to Chicago again – and so a year on, here we were once again, in blazing September sunshine and loads more things to see. We managed all that, I managed three days of Cold Waves. Next year, though, I’m not flying back the following night, as I was paying for that decision for days afterwards.
Read more “Memory of a Festival: 025: Cold Waves IV”

Into the Pit: 187: Adventures in Audio-Visual – Randolph & Mortimer and Public Service Broadcasting Live

This week, within four days, I’ve seen two bands live that very much rely on the visual as much as the audio. One is a fiercely political industrial project taking it’s first steps into the live arena, the other is a band dedicated to meshing old informational and propaganda videos with taut post-punk rhythms, and rising swiftly through the ranks. Weirdly enough, neither use “traditional” vocals to any great degree, either.
Read more “Into the Pit: 187: Adventures in Audio-Visual – Randolph & Mortimer and Public Service Broadcasting Live”

Memory of a Festival: 023: Cold Waves III

In the annals of crazy plans by me, this one was up there with Festival Kinetik 4.0 in 2011, where my friend Tim and I headed to Ottawa and then Montreal for a heavy, heavy week of music, drinking and sightseeing. Doing Cold Waves III came up from similar origins – a lineup too good to miss, and also a chance to catch up with friends who moved back to Chicago from London last year. Not to mention some sightseeing and drinking (and fantastic food), too. So, with not a great deal of notice comparatively, my financee and I headed the 3,950 miles westward across the Atlantic.
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Memory of a Festival: 022: Infest 2014

A sign I’m clearly getting old – this was my fourteenth Infest. God, time flies. This year was perhaps a bit special for a number of reasons, though, at least partly down to the fact that this edition very nearly didn’t happen, and in the event it is a damned good thing that it did happen, as this summer would have been a hell of a dead zone both musically and socially in our corner of the music world.
Read more “Memory of a Festival: 022: Infest 2014”

Memory of a Festival: 021: Bloodstock Open Air 2014

A first for me, in attending Bloodstock for the first time, and a first time in fifteen years camping at a festival (I last did so in 1999 for Reading – you know, back when they still booked bands worth seeing). It wasn’t my first festival where the rain was torrential, though, but even so this was a load of fun, thanks to both the bands and the people. Read more “Memory of a Festival: 021: Bloodstock Open Air 2014”

Memory of a Festival: 020: Resistanz 2014

Christ, 2014 is passing by in a flash. With Easter so late this year, it has resulted too in Resistanz and Whitby being on back-to-back weekends, which has left a number of us fearing for our livers during April, never mind an attempt to get any sleep. As I write this, the first of those weekends is done, and I’ve been left shattered and more than a bit croaky, with two days of work to face before I can head off to the North Yorkshire coast on Thursday. And yes, that’s meant I’ve gone all the way north to Sheffield from London, back for three days, then north again. The perils of having a limited leave allowance from work… Read more “Memory of a Festival: 020: Resistanz 2014”