Six Organs of Admittance - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

Ben Chasny is yet to stand in the middle of the desert playing a lengthy solo as Slash once did in ‘November Rain’ but the Six Organs of Admittance innovator is still a genuine guitar hero. Chasny made his name playing with a number of acts, including psych-rock behemoths Comets on Fire, acoustic two-piece New Bums and underground supergroup Rangda. Six Organs has however remained Chasny’s primary concern, an ever-evolving solo project that has taken folk, psychedelia and occult experimentalism all in its eclectic stride.

Chasny is firmly in folk troubadour mode for tonight’s performance, making the choice of support a particularly interesting one. Not to be confused with the Australian punk band, Guttersnipe is a wildly experimental two-piece from Leeds. The duo produces a racket that could loosely be described as ‘noise-rock’ but with a much heavier focus on the kind of disjointed discordance pioneered by the likes of Miami’s Harry Pussy.

The deeply chaotic, improvisational style will no doubt drive some completely-up-the-wall. The drums and guitar take a scattershot approach, bursts of grindcore-like intensity rubbing up alongside jazzy time-signatures and barked, incomprehensible vocals. It’s an extremely busy sound that steadfastly refuses to settle into any kind of recognisable template or song structure. All played at suitably excessive volume. I’m not sure if I’d listen to Guttersnipe all that much at home yet live their maelstrom of noise provides a visceral, pleasingly ridiculous and highly entertaining experience.

With much of the audience sat down on the floor, Chasny takes to the stage to deliver some of the most beautiful moments from the Six Organs of Admittance back-catalogue. This year’s Burning the Threshold LP, with its focus on Chasny’s love of folk and acoustic textures, suits tonight’s show in the Brudenell’s games room down to a tee. The likes of ‘Things as they Are’ stand amongst some of Chasny’s finest singer-songwriter compositions and reveal both a musical and lyrical tenderness. There’s a quiet and sincere optimism to the likes of ‘Adoration Song’ that’s genuinely touching.

We’re not too far in before someone cries “that was fucking amazing!” A sentiment I’m sure everyone agrees with as Chasny’s subtle performance puts us all under a collective spell. The mix of intricate finger-picking and Chasny’s melancholic tones on ‘Jade like Wine’ are nothing short of mesmerising. These are really fantastic songs.

Then something utterly unexpected happens. Already under the troubadours spell I get a genuine rush of excitement to hear the opening chords to Coil’s ‘Fire of the Mind’. Unaware that the song was something Chasny covers, it’s a real thrill to hear one of my favourite songs performed by such a talent. Apparently Chasny knew Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson before his untimely passing and was given his personal blessing to cover the track. It’s an absolutely hypnotic rendition that I’m sure Christopherson and John Balance would approve of.

We’re then treated to an equally unexpected cover of Faust’s ‘It’s a Rainy Day (Sunshine Girl)’. Vastly different from both the original and Pavements well-loved cover version, Chasny brings out the previously undetected folk influences in the songs chant-like structure. Bloody brilliant it is too.

Chasny finishes his set with a short instrumental piece yet while he remains a guitar virtuoso it’s his abilities as a songwriter and interpreter that have really shone tonight. It’s always a pleasure to see such raw talent in such an intimate environment; tonight’s show will stay with me for a long time.

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