Date: 10th March 2018
Review and photography by Ryan Whitwell/Shotison Media
I headed to Islington’s The Garage for a full on day as the second date of Rocket Recordings’ 20th Birthday took place. Around 10 hours of a range of genres would be filling my ears courtesy of Gum takes Tooth, Goat, Hey Colossus, Housewives, Gnoomes, Mamuthones and Temple ov BBV.
Temple ov BBV are a group formed of members from Gnod & Radar Men From The Moon, which explains why there were ten members on stage at The Garage. A huge soundscape of long form psych with the slow flowing numbers traversing the space and rattling the rib-cages of everyone in attendance. A few crowd members were really into it, standing, eyes closed and absorbing the moment. I especially liked the penultimate number, the tantric beat continuing onward as a cacophony of noise and energy snuck up on me.
Mamuthones were next up. The electro-indie style 4 piece from Italy performed a lot of upbeat numbers. They were a stark contrast to the previous band with some huge thumping bass from the drums, some great guitar work and various electronics from the two other members, including the vocalist who was surrounded by keys and buttons. Lots of bouncing rhythms with a plethora of instruments, including some kind of modified brass horn (featuring an anti-fascist message written on it) and lots of sound-altering effect pedals producing some low-fi vocals, sounding quite punk for the majority of the set. The various synths with a few distorted electro loops and samples offered a modern yet retro tone.
Russian based Gnoomes gave their blend of upbeat electro vibes juxtaposed with more sedate vocals. I liked the experimental vibe, with lots of echo and reverb on the guitar. Off the bat they reminded me a bit of Joy Division if Joy Division leaned harder into synths and loops. Psychedelic at times, and those aspects seemed to develop through the set with some extended sections that felt almost improvised as inhuman sounds played out to the room.
Housewives were on to fill in for Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs who had to cancel. Honestly, I found this one quite hard to connect with. The disjointed and complicated time signatures were impressive, but the mismatched loops kind of threw me off. I assume that was intentional, as they are clearly an experimental group, featuring a huge table filled with wires, switches and synths, like an old telephone exchange. The masses of gear were used to great effect, with some alien sounds and instruments running through the network to create sounds that were hard to pinpoint the origin of.
Six piece Hey Colossus are much simpler in their approach to music, compared to previous acts. No keys, no synths, just some deep stoner vibes with, I think, two bass guitars being teamed with two guitars, drummer and vocals. Plenty of feedback and distortion, as is traditional within their genre, with some sludgy and down beat numbers. The two bass guitars seemed to give a full sound at the lower end adding to the doomy stoner vibe.The tempo and intensity shifted a lot throughout the set. The low basslines and often simple drums lead to a drifting vibe, but things ramped up half way through the set as much darker and more metal infused sounds ensued allowing the packed Garage to partake in some instinctive nodding. The intensity raised to the point that the frontman decided to get a bit closer to the fans with some crowd surfing towards the latter phases of the set.
Goat are incredibly bright and positive, like a tribal psych movement filling the room with colour and energy. They really stood out after some heavy and dark tones in previous acts. Brightly coloured tabards and masks were all across the stage with a lighting set up to match. The use of various instruments like bongos, recorders, tambourines gave a real hippy and free feeling to the sound and the fans seemed to enjoy every second. Their set had some great grooves and plenty of tracks to dance to, although the room was packed so movement was limited. The set also featured some extended instrumental sections as the two vocalists danced around and looked as if they were enjoying themselves immensely. Songs like ‘Run to your Mama’ got a great response, it’s one of their most popular tracks and the simple lyrics lend themselves to being joined by those in attendance. I loved the fuzzy guitar tone on the final song, ‘Let it Burn’, it kind of drifted into a stoner rock vibe which is right up my street.
After a delay due to a technical issue, London’s experimental electronic duo, Gum takes Tooth, got going. It was about 1am at this point, after door opened at 3.30pm so I was flagging, but I was glad I stuck around for these guys. They offered a huge dose of hard hitting bass and echoing drums that perked me up a bit. The bone shattering bass and drums was juxtaposed with some mixed up synth tones. It was a great demonstration of how versatile those little boxes can be, with pitches shifting and some big sounding loops blasting out. A good big blast of beats to end a long and eclectic evening.