First off, I am going to mention the logistics and organisation, as both were seriously lacking. My girlfriend and I decided that we wouldn’t rush into town (we were staying at her dad’s in south Leicester anyway), and when we got to The Shed we were glad that we did – despite doors being 1400, according to the flyer, we were able to head into the venue from the dingy cellar bar at no less than 1730. Good thing one band (Skinflick) had dropped out, eh?
The Shed, Leicester
30 April 2006
Almost straight away it became painfully clear that the sound quality was going to match the organisation. First act on was Viral Lode, a promising-sounding Ant-Zen-esque noise artist, hampered badly in my opinion by the volume being far too low. Sadly the “sound man” was nowhere to be found until the end of his set. Despite this, some interesting rhythms and sounds were eked out, and once he gains in confidence on stage (hunched over the equipment paying no attention to the audience holds little interest for the crowd, to be honest) it will certainly be one to watch.
Next band on were Hattemachin* (no, me neither), who despite taking forever to get set up (and setting back timings even more) and having evident technical problems throughout the set, were an intriguing proposition. An amalgam of many different sounds, various reference points popped up that were always just out of reach of identifying. In the main they were industrial rock, I guess, with lots of bleep, lots of guitar and lots of anger.
Really, really odd was probably the way to describe the wonderfully named Evil Man In Your Attic. Another one-man-hunched-over-his-equipment, the music covered just about every base possible, from breaks and slow beats to pulsing industrial. Yet again subject to technical issues that killed his set stone-dead before picking up again where he left off, it was one that perhaps will make way more sense listened to at home on headphones.
Find of the day for me was Glitch Code, connected by one member to Neon Zoo, but frankly sounding nothing like them at all – and all the better for it. This was their first live outing, with a new female singer to add to the male vocals of Rick Alexander, and their sweeping, dark goth-industrial (think Collide, but less ethereal) just filled the room. Nerves clearly held them back to start with, but once those were gone the vocals gained prominence, the music clicked into gear and they became essential listening. The only lesser moment following this point was the last song – a rather more uptempo track that just felt out of place and unneccessary. I’m most interested to hear how they sound in recorded/studio form with both vocalists – the demos on the site currently only have Rick.
Best band of the day honours go to 3ulogy – the events of the day to this point appeared to have rattled them and so they raged through their set. Opener Forget‘s impact was lessened by – yet again – the sound guy having the beats too low in the mix (prodding him to improve it actually worked), although Deception that followed it made up for that. Even losing the vocal effects didn’t hamper them – all the tracks played sounded postively feral and made quite an impact on the crowd, too.
And so onto my final band for the day – Zeitgeist Zero. I’ve only seen them the once before (although it feels longer, only about six months back!), and I felt that they were better here than the previous time. It’s all about balance, I think – somewhere between goth and bleep, and with a great sense of humour when required. A great example of the latter are the almost Horror B-Movie touches (the organ blasts through Bride Of Frankenstein!), and the clear fact that the band don’t take themselves quite as seriously as you might think. Had to leave before the end of the set, which was a shame, as I hear I missed a good cover version! Next time, then, eh?
So yeah, I missed Neon Zoo and Deviant UK by leaving early – no real shame there. NZ I have never really been that keen on, while Deviant UK just left me totally cold last time, and their aloof attitude on the day really did not endear them to many.
And in addition to that, I was kinda glad to get out of that venue. One of those places with poor ventilation, surly staff and crap drinks. If this is to be done again – the idea is a great one, it really is, and I hope the people who had a hand in all this read it at some point – please take some points in mind. For starters, get someone doing the sound who knows what they are doing, will actually stay at the mixing desk during the times bands are on stage, and will not be wasted on drink or whatever else (he seemed barely coherent later on). Also – if punters can leave and re-enter the venue whenever they wish, how about stamping hands so you know who has paid? And from what I understand, organisers all turning up on time would be of use, too – the delay to start with was getting ridiculous by mid-evening. Finally – when even local people “in the scene” are even unaware of the event, perhaps some promotion would not go amiss?
Overall verdict? Nice try, but could do better.