A hooded figure kneels on the floor amongst a thickening cloud of smoke machine fog, while a long, low drone rumbles from the speakers. You might be surprised to find out that this is not anything to do with Stephen O'Malley and I am in fact watching The Haxan Cloak. The comparisons are unavoidable but instead of monolithic guitar sounds, HC utilises synth drones and noise to slowly build a deafening soundscape which eventually reaches a climax when the strobe light that had been slowly pulsing away amidst all the fog suddenly kicks into overdrive and I'm stood slack jawed, eardrums exploding, head spinning and enjoying it immensely.
A perfect warmup then for the bizarre New York troupe Liars in all their synth-groove driven glory. While Liars have become known for the ear-piercing noise so well-crafted on albums such as Drum's Not Dead and Sisterworld, this year's WIXIW (pronounced 'Wish You' apparently) was a surprising foray into a much more accessible sound; less Deerhoof, more Depeche Mode, and the set leans heavily on this. The songs from the record provide a much more enjoyable, nuanced journey in comparison to what I imagine a whole hour of their jagged earlier stuff must have been like.
Early into the set they launch into single 'Brats,' which kicks things off beautifully. The dirty synthesizer and pure dance music drum beat get everyone into the spirit of a dysfunctional disco. While fellow single 'No.1 Against the Rush' borders on euphoric, frontman Angus Andrew steals the show with his bizarre Forrest-Gump-doing-the-monster-mash dancing and at one point scares everyone shitless with a Tarzan yodel mid-sentence, signalling the start of Drum's Not Dead highlight 'Let's Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack'- a tribal drumming-fuelled noise assault which is easily my favourite part of the night. And with WIXIW providing the backbone of the setlist, when the band do look back and unleash some of their weirder numbers they're all the more striking. Songs like 'We Fenced Other Gardens with the Bones of Our Own' with its war cry chant of 'WE'RE DOOMED! WE'RE DOOMED!' is another great moment.
The breadth of Liars' back catalogue means they go from their recent synth-pop endeavours to their dance punk early days in just a few minutes and everyone in the room is kept on their toes. They unleash their full fury at the end of their set with the jagged riff attack, 'Plaster Casts of Everything' and follow with the gorgeous 'Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack' before departing. In what feels like a such a short hour the band have had me nodding my head to the beat, full on banging it like a nutter or just standing in awe at the wall of noise they create. WIXIW were there.
Posted: Fri 12 October 2012 Total Views: 548Views Today: 0