Friday, August 28, 2015

Peace + The Drive, Live at the Instutite Temple, 27/8/15

Pre festival warm up gigs are always amazing. To this date the craziest gig I've ever been to was Pendulum's pre Glastonbury warm up gig in 2009. Another fantastic pre festival warm up was Peace in the temple last year. A gig which sold out in minutes, where I nearly got kicked in the face 5 times, tripped on a guys piss and witnessed a guy crowd-surfing with his feet on the palms of two audience members hands. I booked my ticket for this gig knowing that it would be something special.
First up was a newish Birmingham band called The Drive (6/10), a group of young kids, playing indie rock who have clearly learned a lot from Peace. Their bouncy, melodic songs got the crowd, especially the young teenagers bouncing around the place. They reminded me a little bit of foals in the early math rocky sense and the brooding 'Spanish sahara' sense, when they tried their hand at a slower song. They can play pretty well, the songs have nice guitar melodies, and they fit into the Birmingham scene quite well alongside, Peace, Jaws and the like. They just need a few good tunes to become more than the sum of their influences. Rather charmingly they claimed that it had been the best gig of their lives, hopefully it can only get better for them.
This was the 5th time I'd seen Peace (8.8) so the show had a hint of familiarity to it, they started with a little intro which I didn't recognise but quickly faded into 'I'm a Girl'. To be honest I can't remember the exact order of the songs they played, but they played all of the hits, condensed into about an hour. Every song that people love of theirs got an airing, Wraith, Follow Baby, Lost On Me, Gen Strange, and Float Forever to briefly calm things down to name just a few. As usual they looked cool as fuck, Harry decked out in a massive trench coat but not seemly bothered by the heat. The crowd was a mix of people of all ages, from older fans to bearded hipsters like me, but the ensuing moshpits were full of teenagers and students. None of which were any good at moshing,  but the vibe was great so it didn't really matter. While many acts stand there telling people to go crazy Peace's mere presence makes people lose their shit. The crowd was a sweaty mass of kids who bounced, moshed and sung along to every word of every song. Because of this I wasn't able to get a single good photograph of the show on my phone. I'm glad I didn't bring my camera to this one, it could have been destroyed. The greatest hits set lasted about an hour and flew by, Peace ended it with World Pleasure, and Sam Koisser climbed up the speaker stack to casually sit down while slapping out funky basslines, as everyone got out their phones to take a shot of him up there. Harry promised that the band would be back to take requests.
Hence the screams for 1998, a sign that I was in the presence of true Peace fans. I've heard Peace play 1998 4 of  the 5 times I've seen them and I feel that those have been 4 of the best times of my life,  the slow intro, the gradual build up, that explosion of sound, it never gets old. Then some guy shouted out for 'someday' and suddenly things calmed down a bit. I can't remember the song they closed with but it was a big one and I walked out of the place on a high, I'm sure Reading will be ace but I think the true party was last night.

 You can check out The Drive below

Thursday, August 6, 2015

HANZ- Reducer, Review.

Back to music reviews!

I found out about this guy through the Needle Drop's (AKA Anthony Fantano, The Internet's busiest music nerd), YUNO Review segment on his you tube channel. HANZ is shrouded in mystery, I'm going to assume based on the sound of his music and name that Hanz is a he. I cannot find anything about the man himself, other than that he is from Durham in the United States. What I can say is that his Facebook has 666 likes and that his d├ębut album 'Reducer' has been released for free on his website. It is released physically on vinyl through Tri Angle records later this year. All you really need to know about HANZ is what you will hear on the opening track 'The History of'. The album does get easier to listen to on the tracks afterwards, Yet it's the opening track that breaks in your ears the same way you might with a new pair of shoes. The song has no structure at all, uses samples and huge blasting beats. It reminds me a little bit of Aphex Twin, but without Richard D James' subtly or perfectionist streak. Much of Reducer sounds raw and off the cuff. It's hard to say when a lot of these songs start or where they end. I'm not sure how many times I've played the album yet, because if you're not careful you can end up playing it on a constant loop. If you're a fan of Crystal Castles, Health, Death Grips, Thom Yorke's solo records or even Portishead, you'll find a lot to like here, not because it sounds anything like those bands, but because much like them HANZ likes to challenge and perplex his listeners. The vibe is dark and brooding, and despite the lack of any melodies or structure it is an easy record to listen to and enjoy. It reminds me of the heady days of the early 90's (which I'm far too young to remember) when DJ's were less interested in making millions from advertising and streaming than they were burning millions of their own royalties, and mixing with scraps of sandpaper.
Reducer is a very vague album, the samples are nonsensical, and it mixes hard hitting beats with dark vibes and a laid back trip-hoppy presence.  It's a welcome reminder that electronic music is not just for the clubs or gym. It feels timeless, yet is one of the most forward thinking records to come out in 2015.