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:: Mi Ami :: Pig Village ::
06 June 2010 / Ruby Lounge / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

We're quite used to Wotgodforgot dishing up some pretty strange stuff - but tonight is particularly weird. Not in an obviously weird way, either, if that makes sense. It probably makes about as much sense as anything else here. Specifically there's no deranged home-made instrument contraptions or borderline performance art; no free-range electronics or 25 minute prog trips. Just two three piece bands each comprising guitar, bass and drums. But we depart Ruby Lounge later having watched and enjoyed two quite different bands without really understanding either of them. Maybe that's the point, maybe you don't have to.

Pig Village are a loud, dissonant trio who clearly have some reasonable familiarity with the works of Steve Albini. So far so everyone else who ever dreamed of playing ATP. And yet in spirit there's a kind of Kong-like anarchy going on, and it does permeate the music. The vocalist operates largely on the level of angry, abrasive howl and yet not in an unpleasant or overbearing way, and there are definitely actual tunes going on somewhere, just rather quickly and through a wall of sonic artillery. And they have songs called things like "Dead Egyptian Boyfriend" and "This Is What The End Of The World Sounds Like" - or at least they say they do, there's a fair chance they're making this up on the spot; they introduce a third with "This is a song about gays and why it's bad to kill them" and spend some time involving one audience member in a direct exchange. It's a bit like a compressed Future Of The Left gig and as such seems to be over in about four minutes when it's actually probably been about 25.

No two ways about it, Mi Ami are a pretty strange sounding bunch. They don't look strange; American bands (this lot are from California; the sunnier states seemingly starting to fight back against New York's latterday annexing of the US alternative scene) often don't though, do they? You often find some bloke in a check shirt who was stood unobtrusively watching the support will minutes later be making some unholy racket. This Mi Ami certainly do, and it's a tough one to pin down. They seem to operate in their own little corner of post-hardcore: the one Forward Russia vacated a couple of years ago where pop and disco are allowed in, only with undercurrents of Neu! and a nod or two to the current pan-globalist trend. Which loosely translates as a bit of a mess, really, with most of the set sounding a bit like each of the three members is listening to something completely different through a pair of invisible headphones and playing along to it. And yet they fix on each other throughout, rarely interacting with the modest crowd at all, knitting these disparate sounds tightly together.

One of these three people is Daniel Marin-McCormick, veteran of Dischord punks Black Eyes, and he plays guitar like he's attempting some sort of Battles math-jazz only someone's left his guitar tuned to some weird African - or possibly even alien - scale. The basslines have largely been pilfered from old Lee Sctrach perry records, although possibly imaginary ones. The drums are a bit like someone having a punch-up or a party or possibly both in a scrapyard. It would be a lot to get your head round if they were an instrumental band - and yet the addition of Marin-McCormick's unique vocal style somehow pushes it full circle round the back of mental until it seems to make sense again. The lyrics, according to the press blurbs, "focus on an alienation with American male/dude culture and the barely-repressed sexual violence that informs so much of daily life." Which sounds fascinating - apart from the fact that you have absolutely no chance of knowing what the hell he's on about due to his oddly high pitched yelping - to the point where three songs in I'm looking for the helium balloons he must be inhaling. It's the sort of voice that's usually referred to as an acquired (or not) taste - and indeed a few people do seem to actually leave during their set. I don't, but afterwards I'm glad I made a few notes as I'd stand no chance trying to make sense of them after the fact. File under information overload, albeit oddly enjoyable.

Mi Ami
Pig Village

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