My journey starts in London at the O2 Academy Islington – A purportedly 800 person capacity venue buried in the middle of a a shopping centre. I don’t think I would have liked to be there if there were 800 people in there – I think that they were counting standing room in the foyer and on the 3 flights of stairs that had to be climbed to get into the room.
First up – Drab Majesty.
Starting with a dark smoke filled stage, this post punk duo from Houston combines a synth/laptop for loops, beats and noises and a glassy ethereal guitar with lots of reverb & chorus effects. The band was kitted out with long black capes, hoods, futuristic sunglasses worn as bands across the eyes covering pasty white face paint. As goth as you can get.
Tunes were synth electro goth meandering bases overlaid by lilting, measured clean guitar riffs and tortured vocals. They describe themselves as an ethereal, intergalactic postpunk band – hence the weird glasses I suppose.
No brown notes here…..
The headline act tonight was Cold Cave.
More smoke for this trio clad in black leather jackets and new wave hair. Two benches at the back of the stage were bristling with synths and laptops while vocalist prowled around in front with the mic. Projected images on the back of the stage providing most of the light with looping high contrast scenes and messages of subterfuge.
Drum machine beats were overlaid with layers of pre-recorded heavy industrial distorted guitar reminiscent of a dialled down Nine inch nails or White Zombie, but more broody.
This darkwave synthpop trio tried hard for the brown note through sheer chest pounding volume, but try as they might……..not even a twinge.