Fuck Buttons - Gorilla, Manchester - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Fuck Buttons - Gorilla, Manchester

by Steve Rhodes Rating:8 Release Date:2012-09-16

Having sneaked into the national consciousness almost by accident with two of their songs included in the Olympics Opening Ceremony, Danny Boyle's new favourite band of 2012 are at the less headier heights of Manchester's Gorilla, a rambling venue buried under a railway arch, almost like a miniature version of its more established neighbour Sound Control.

First up, though, is London producer Bobby Krlic, aka The Haxan Cloak, a one-man sonic intimidator, who annihilates your senses. Warning - this performance contains strobe lighting and then some! Mixing blissful doom with nerve and spine-shredding electronica, moving between pummelling the audience with a powerful manipulation of sound, and swathes of hypnotic part-melodies, like Roll the Dice meets Godspeed You! Black Emperor via Aphex Twin, The Haxan Cloak produces a set of understated intensity, which Chris Cunningham should be breaking down doors to match with visuals. Like most solo electronic artists, there is little movement behind the controls or interaction with the crowd but with music like this there is no need to, with much of the audience engaged in their own worlds in entranced nodding.

After the intensity of The Haxan Cloak you might expect Fuck Buttons to be a relaxing contrast, but the band dispel this notion with the pounding 'Brainfreeze', the opener from new album Slow Focus. Sitting face-to-face behind banks of electronics Andrew and Ben rely on repetition by effectively layering and building the song to a resounding tour de force. The sound instantly feels harsher than normal but it still warm and enveloping, - blissful chainsaws with more of a serrated edge. Andrew 'sings' down the microphone at times, almost like distressed birdsong. It fits with the more ethereal elements, though Ben's movement to the front of the stage to hit a drum in a rather 'unique' style is a pointless interlude and added little to the performance.

Though this opener is rousing, it's 'Surf Solar' which truly gets the crowd going, with a blisteringly loud but still mesmeric delivery and somewhat uncomfortable bass helped or hindered by the awkward speaker system at the venue. Crowd favourite 'Olympians' further sends the audience into overdrive with its serene, fuzz-driven electronica, but still with plenty of oomph. The newer tracks are very recognisable in conforming with the Fuck Buttons sound and are delivered well, such as the hard-edged, almost metallic 'Sentients'. But maybe that's part of the problem as, bar subtle changes in bass, frequency and delivery, there simply isn't enough variation in the set to retain interest throughout. Despite this, set closer 'Hidden XS' is a gem, with its urgent analogue melody and soaring synths which John Carpenter could learn a thing or two from.

Though the lack of diversity in the set and difficult noise levels at the venue are a challenge, the band are definitely more engaging, connecting differently and more effectively with the crowd than previously seen, with the audience mixed between those closing their eyes and drifting along, and those bounding around with their arms in the air. It's the mark of a successful live act that they can coax a response like that from their audience and Fuck Buttons are certainly triumphant for most of tonight.

 

Comments (2)

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Wow, that was blistering ! Letterman was underwhelming though, you'd think he could have mustered some enthusiasm !

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Brilliant!!!

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