Friday, 7 June 2013

Black Cobra / Bison BC / Årabrot - Ivory Blacks, Glasgow

Don't you just hate it when the local opening band turns out to be pretty good, yet leaves the stage without telling you who the fuck they are? I do. At least duct-tape your name onto the kick drum, scrawl it on your bassist's forehead, do something to let people know what your band is called.
So yeah, the opening band was decent, and if they want to let me know their name, that'd be swell.
[Edit: Turns out it was Easy Bake Oven. They rule. Check them out.]

Norwegian weirdos Årabrot take the stage looking like extras in some bizarre Nordic barbarian b-movie. Their set of writhing, (amphetamine) reptilian noise-sludge is an unusual fit on this bill, but it works well. Their abrasive tones are offset creepily by Bison-horn-hatted Kjetil Nernes' whispering/purring/strangled-throated Yow yelps.
If you got hard over the Melvins/Unsane tour that happened last year, and are really into denim shorts, Årabrot are your new favourite band.

I'm a big fan of Vancouver's Bison BC, but I still haven't gotten around to listening to their latest record Lovelessness, so much of tonight's set was unfamiliar to me, but based on how they ripped through their new set, I am really fucking up by not owning their latest slab of expansive sludge. Soon as I have money guys, I promise.
Since I last saw the band, they have a new drummer who kind of terrifies me. He looks like a clown with no make-up on, his relentless grin never failing even as he smashes the hell out of his kit, splintered sticks flying everywhere.

When they tear into 'These Are My Dress Clothes' from 2008's Quiet Earth, I was back in familiar territory, bellowing along to the weirdest refrain ever. The next song 'Stressed Elephant' is just as heavy as its name implies, and I start to worry I won't even be able to hear the last band's set.

I last saw San Francisco's finest Black Cobra close out Roadburn 2012 to a packed main room, the two members somehow managing to fill that stage with sheer relentless riffage and percussive abuse. Considering they managed to get hundreds of exhausted stoners to bang their heads one last time after 4 days of Olympic-level narcotic intake made their set a total triumph.
This was a week after I'd also seen them play to 20 disinterested Germans as support to the legendary Corrosion Of Conformity. I had really hoped tonight's show would be more like the former, but instead the absolutely dismal turnout kind of put a damper on the atmosphere of the show. What the hell, Glasgow?

Regardless of the low attendance the band were as tight as ever, the short sharp set leaning more towards their relentlessly pummelling material, with none of their more atmospheric, slower songs. So no 'Corrosion Fields'. Bummer, but I can't really complain when given the chance to be one of the few to experience the sheer sonic devastation wrought upon Glasgow that night. My ears are still ringing 48 hours later.
Next time any of these bands come around, miss them at your peril.

All photos by Steff Vogeler.

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