Friday, 3 December 2010
Black Dice + Growing – The Dome, London. 2/12/2010
If there was any consolation that I’m missing the Godspeed You! Black Emperor ATP this weekend it would be seeing two of my favourite bands on that line-up (and obviously seeing GY!BE in their own right) play a warm up show on Thursday night in London, at The Dome venue. Despite the treacherous weather conditions that had been hitting the capitol (and the rest of the UK for that matter) I’d be foolish to miss a show that contained Growing and Black Dice on the same bill.
In my first ever venture into Tufnell Park, The Dome is not to be mislead into thinking it’s some fancy circular shaped building. The venue has more the description of a community club or a town hall, perfect for three extremely loud noise bands, right? Despite all the artists being on the ATP line-up this weekend, this show was in fact put on by the ever consistent London based label/promoters, and all round nice people, Upset The Rhythm. The opening band on the bill were the aptly named duo The Berg Sans Nipple, who I’d heard little of before tonight, but was impressed by their percussion heavy Fuck Button-y drones.
Growing, were next. The Washington based trio, fresh from the release of their latest skull crushingly brilliant LP ‘Pumps’, performed an aesthetic on stage that seemed less ambient and dance orientated than on record. However, if you listened carefully enough, beneath all the loud frequencies and noise you can still make out all the musical layers that Growing so cleverly create on a physical musical format. Just the intensity of noise gave their sound a fascinating a perspective.
So when it came to Rhode Island noise/trash heroes Black Dice you could sense the crowd were pretty psyched. And there was certainly no bullshit with their set, smacking us in the face with the sound of a high frequency ‘boom’ and by the end of their intensely loud mind fuck it had the feel of a Warp Records club night with the crowd dancing to their non-stop progression of noise.
As with the regular evolving sounds throughout Black Dice’s back catalogue, their set seemed to juxtapose in three parts. Having listened to them on record since approximately 2005, this performance was completely not what I was expecting from them. Although it was constructed mainly from their 2009 record ‘Repo’, their stage set up had the feel of 3 skater dudes performing a soundscape with guitars, pedals, sequencers and the odd spot of screaming that looked and sounded like it could have been hardcore punk gig, a 1992 hip-hop party and a psychedelic drone fest all at the same time. But don’t be fooled into thinking they just want to cram as many obscure genres they can into one sound. Black Dice may be seen as pretentious to some but in many cases what lies beneath the maelstrom of chaos is just honest, fun party music. Despite many exciting expectations, the word ‘fun’ being the most surprising aspect of being at a Black Dice gig, in the crowd, and on the stage.
To say ‘I was blown away’ is a phrase I use very lightly, but this was definitely the case with The Berg Sans Nipple, Growing and Black Dice. It takes a special event for me to wake up the following day with my ears still ringing and the first thought being what I had witnessed the previous evening. This was one of those mornings.
Words: Freddy Rothman