Nisennenmondai - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Nisennenmondai - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-03-25

Tonight Japan’s Nisennenmondai will hypnotise the entire Brudenell crowd; bringing on a collective wide-eyed, head-nodding trance. We’re treated to two mighty fine support acts first, though, both from a little closer to home.

West Yorkshire’s very own That Fucking Tank kick things off with a predictably impressive set. Andy Abbott and James Islip have been playing music as TFT for over a decade now and it shows in their brutally tight performance. Islip asks for less smoke from the smoke-machine at one point, as he needs to keep a close eye on Abbott for all those insane changes and time signatures.

Abbott throws out riff after riff, varying between rock, metal and even a little Bruce Springsteen appreciation (through the ‘Dancing in the Dark’ aping ‘Bruce Springstonehenge’). It’s an exercise in riff worship and it’s as thrilling to hear tonight as it has been every other time I’ve seen them. Without doubt, TFT remain one of Leeds’ finest live acts.

Next up, we get Sheffield’s Blood Sport. If there’s one common thread throughout the night it has to be the tight rhythm sections and propulsive, addictive grooves. The band is in thrall to African rhythms, Talking Heads, psychedelia and the stranger aspects of post-punk. Vocalist Nick Potter sings and yelps through a reverb-soaked microphone while drummer Sam Parkin keeps things moving forward with an intoxicatingly irrespirable force. They released their debut album last year; I think it’ll be worth a look.

As impressive as tonight’s support acts are, nothing quite prepares me for Nisennenmondai. The Tokyo-based three-piece have been making repetitious, experimental music together since 1999. Their instrumental soundscapes evoke the urban sprawl of a neon-lit Tokyo and strobing, city centre dancefloors at 3am. The day's sweltering heat only adds to the club-like atmosphere and I’m completely under their spell for the entire set.

The music is partly Krautrock influenced groove, partly club-worthy electronica. Although, admittedly Nisennenmondai are too odd, too otherworldly to be played in any club I’ve heard of (I might actually go out to one if they did though).

Drummer Sayaka Himeno keeps the trance-inducing tempo going, while Yuri Zaikawa’s deceptively simple bass playing keeps us in the bands collective palms. You can’t underestimate the power of repetition. Who really needs transcendental meditation when listening to Nisennenmondai play puts you in a whole other world? Ah, the transformative effects of live music.

When the set ends the quietly spoken guitarist, Masako Takada, thanks the crowd and points us towards the merch stall. The merch table is humming with people immediately afterwards, everyone wanting some kind of token to remind them of tonight’s performance. I buy an album, but am aware that nothing will quite recreate the Nisennenmondai live experience. 

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