The Soft Moon - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Soft Moon - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:7 Release Date:2011-12-17

It’s Tuesday night and there’s a small but dedicated crowd forming at the ever reliable Brudenell Social Club. Having recently unveiled the bruising Deeper LP, no one is really expecting a relaxed set from Oakland’s darkwave trio, The Soft Moon. This, however, still doesn’t prepare anyone for tonight’s immensely intense support act.

Based in Berlin, where some of The Soft Moon currently reside, Blush Response is the one-man electronic project of Joey Blush. It’s a wonderful shock-to-the-system from the start as Blush releases a monolithic slab of noise from his desk of seemingly endless wires and connections.

It’s the sound of some dark Berlin club at 3am; pounding industrial-techno at bone-rattling volume. I’m caught off guard by the unexpectedness of it all, and it’s absolutely brilliant.

Blush doesn’t really have much of a stage presence, preferring to let the noise do the talking. As most of us stand with our mouths open (or grinning manically), one devoted patron meets the sonic challenge and dances up front. Clearly a support hand-picked by The Soft Moon, there’s overlap in their shared appreciation of all things industrial. All I can say is that the slightly twee-sounding moniker, Blush Response, couldn’t be more misleading if it tried.

The Soft Moon appear almost silhouette-like as they take to the stage shrouded in a tonne of smoke, immediately kicking things off with the NIN’s metallic clatter of ‘Black’. Heavily hit drum-pads give that distinctive industrial sound as singer Luis Vasquez growls into the microphone. It’s an impressively intense, all-consuming sound.

The band take on a number of influences, with the dark-80s-jangle of ‘Alive’ following in the previous track's uncompromising wake. It’s a sound that a few bands have been playing with recently and shares some sonic territory with the likes of Viet Cong.

Some of the songs lack a unique enough identity to really stand-out, nonetheless the overall effect is hypnotic. The highlights come when the band introduce some extra, fiercely delivered, percussion, the songs taking on a further rhythmic strength. Vasquez looks at his most immersed when he’s hammering the set of bongos or beating the larger barrel drum that he drags to the front of the stage. The songs are all relatively short but follow each other in quick succession, creating a rather relentless wall-of-sound.

The band finish their initial set with the nocturnal throb of ‘Being’, building the sound to a beautifully intense rhythmic mantra. Coming back for a brief encore (that my friend insists was down to her frantic yelling/pleading alone), The Soft Moon deliver one last claustrophobic burst of industrial energy before leaving the stage.

An industrial-influenced sound stripped of its excesses and delivered in the style of post-punk three-minute wonders; The Soft Moon are a lean, mean, industrial machine. 

Photos courtesy of Alex Staszko

Comments (3)

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Blush Response comes from Blade Runner as is the title of one of the tracks on the soundtrack by Vangelis.

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Cheers Rich! Makes more sense now, futuristic-industrial- dystopia-future vibes

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Sounds good!

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