Shit & Shine - The Golden Cabinet

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2013-05-03

Passers-by look a little bemused to see a mass gig goers gathered outside the old Victorian schoolhouse-come-community centre; clearly The Golden Cabinet is one of West Yorkshire’s best kept secrets. There’s something genuinely commendable about what they’ve achieved, a collective of like-minded promotors who have been responsible for a number of experimental and frequently impressive gigs in Shipley’s Kirkgate Centre.

It doesn’t initially seem like the kind of place where you would find the likes of Worriedaboutsatan and Shit ‘n’ Shine. The former in particular seems wonderfully at odds with the charity shop down the road that informs us, in large muti-coloured letters, that ‘Jesus Lives’. It might be Jesus, the Devil, the large range of local ales available at the bar or even the range of eclectic acts performing but something keeps the punters coming back to The Golden Cabinet.

The night begins around 17.30 with a set from Peter J Taylor aka School House. Although it’s still pretty early in the night a reasonable crowd has gathered to watch the one-man electronic noise artist. The set begins with a loud yet ambient drone that puts the whole room into a pleasingly meditative state. The music gradually fades and I’m surprised to find that the room has fallen practically silent. There’s a calm, momentary pause before Taylor launches into a harder, louder piece that pummels our expectant ears. It’s a hell-of-a-lot of noise for one man and a laptop.

Manchester’s Worriedaboutsatan are up next. The two-piece combine their love of post-rock with an equal love and appreciation for electronica, glitch, techno and metal. It’s certainly not a pot of influences that just any old band could successfully meld but I’m pleased to report that the duo pulls it off with aplomb. The set starts with spacey, immersive drones before shifting naturally through the duo’s eclectic range of influences.

I’m pulled under after the first minute, eyes closed and happily lost in the sound. If you squint a little Tom Ragsdale resembles a bearded John Balance as he dances around his tool box of electronics, feverishly plugging and unplugging cables and licking his fingertips. Gavin Miller stands opposite adding some suitably epic guitar work to the sonic platter. What starts off reasonably calm periodically erupts into jarring, pulsing Jungle-like beats. It shouldn’t work but it definitely does.

London’s Hirvikolari make deeply atmospheric, space-age drones and feature two members of the mighty Teeth of the Sea. Sam Barton and Mike Bourne have a knack for creating eerie soundtracks that conjure images of desperate space-cadets taking their first fraught steps onto alien soil. Like their other band the duo makes music that feels otherworldly, beautiful and unsettling all at the same time.

Favouring a sustained, tense drone over beats and rhythms they create a subtly shifting, monumental sound that pulls us all into its celestial orbit. The duo is significantly more stripped back than Teeth of the Sea yet feature many of the bands distinctive hallmarks. There’s the slow building, ominous synths and the lonely trumpet calls that bring an almost Morricone-esque sense of drama to proceedings. Dread mixed with euphoria, Hirvikolari keep me absolutely absorbed from beginning to end.

The old schoolhouse is one big, throbbing shrine to dancing and drinking by the time Bristol’s Giant Swan start. There’s an undeniable momentum to these Golden Cabinet nights and the Bristolian duo have caught the crowd at their dance-hungry peak by the time they launch into their ridiculously energetic performance. Centred around lashings of electronic noise the duo throw themselves into the chaos as they play around with the various distortion pedals and sequencers littering the table in front of them. The sound is overwhelming as they add some supremely fucked guitars to the sonic assault for good measure. Giant Swan create a kind of primal, discordant dance music that pushes everything firmly into-the-red with unrelenting beats and a fearsome use of noise.

Shit and Shine has been creating bizarre noise since 2004 with Texas born Craig Clouse as the only constant member. The band’s sound has shifted from album-to-album, incorporating unrelenting drones, avant-garde experimentalism, pulverising noise-rock, Krautrock grooves and dance music. Tonight Clause and another band member stand behind a table of laptops and electronic kit while a third hits a solitary electric drum. As I look around I’m reminded how fantastically subversive it feels that something this strange could be happening in an old schoolhouse in the centre of Shipley.

It was always going to be difficult to predict how their set would go yet the volume levels seemed almost guaranteed. The floor under my feet shakes as the set begins and the whole room dances to the mad-hatters superbly off-kilter beats. The music throbs, leers and lurches through the room maintaining the night’s club-like atmosphere.

The sound is very much Shit and Shine’s interpretation of dance music; the repetitive beats and nightclub vibes are all present and correct it’s just that everything is so much more intense. There’s vocals too, yelled unintelligibly into a warped microphone like Gibby Haynes. It’s a convincingly abrasive set but a band called Shit and Shine was never going to take itself too seriously.  It raises more than a few smiles when the band decide to slip ‘Hungry Eyes’ from Dirty Dancing into the mix.

While Shit ‘n’ Shine are indeed tonight’s headliners there’s the feeling that tonight has been a group effort, all 5 acts building on each other’s contributions. It’s quite different to the majority of gigs I attend and it’s noticeable that as the evening progresses the focus seems to shift away from the performers and turns back on the crowd. I’ve not been to a gig with this much enthusiastic dancing in ages, dancing like its 3am in some underground club.

All this in an atmosphere that’s as friendly and as inclusive as you could hope for with cups of tea being supped on the dancefloor besides the gallons of ale. They do some pretty nice samosas too. The Golden Cabinet know how to throw a party.

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