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:: AAAK [As Able As Kane] :: Gabrielle's Wish :: Resist ::
24 June 2010 / Sacred Trinity Church / Salford
By Cath Aubergine

Does anyone else ever play ex-Fall member bingo on a night out? One point for an attendance, two if they're actually onstage. Tonight's a four-pointer. Anyway, the back story (compressed version): somewhere in a desolate part of late 80s Manchester two young men, equally bored with the dying goth scene as the emerging Madchester scene, acquired a drum machine, keyboard, 8-track and what their sleevenotes delightfully describe as "a reasonably large collection of scrap metal" and created "Buildingscape Beat", a hardcore form of industrial electronic music influenced variously by Ministry, the dereliction around them and the Peel-championed New Beat sounds coming out of Belgium. Renewed interest in their work in late 2009 led to them re-recording much of it using newer technology to create the sounds they wanted to back then, and this week it's released on the Electric Tremor label with a second CD of original versions, demos and archive live recordings. This is the album launch: we've been to plenty of gigs at Sacred Trinity beforehand but they've usually been, for want of a better word, "nice" things: acoustic, folk, ambient electronics, Sonic Cathedral, Red Deer Club. Not bands who are proudly and wilfully nasty.

Neither of the supports are the sort of thing you'd play over tea at your gran's, either, and both in their own ways carry echoes of the industrial scene. Resist inhabit the borderlands between latterday goth and EBM-trance: fronted by the crystal-voiced Misha and keyboard co-pilot Emma they sound rather like Evanescence would have done if they'd listened to more Rammstein and less of what their label and stylists told them would be good for radio-play. Gabrielle's Wish meanwhile have of course been around as long as anyone can remember, and after entering to what sounds like a vintage BBC reading of Orwell's 1984 present their own dystopian future visions via the medium of industrial-flavoured post-punk and probably wake up a gargoyle or two with their hard driving bass. Always something of a crazed preacher, the wild-eyed Rob Corless fronts a track from the pulpit itself: we're probably all going to hell, but if it sounds like this that'll do me.

Preacher man Rob

"Metal! Bone! Brick! Stone! Structure! Heat! Rock! Concrete!" Two tracks in and AAAK's Paul Rawlinson is delivering what could be a manifesto for their art: this is dance music as far removed from the fluffy foam-parties into which rave sady degenerated as it's possible to be. Meanwhile Ding Archer - a man who looks precisely like this music sounds; tall and wiry and wired and menacing and dressed in skintight black from Mohican to boots - is at the controls, fusing samples and beats and deliciously dirty high-octane noise. Red and green lasers slice through dry-ice in front of fast-flickering images of urban decay and situationist-influenced graphics, and behind that the holy imagery of the church windows glows faintly from the last rays of midsummer daylight. The beats are frenzied, the rush relentless, our two protagonists barely stopping for breath between tracks as the crowd becomes energised. Yes it's a reunion but this is no retro show: listen to it alongside Underworld, or even the brutal end of contemporary Berlin techno and tell me it's not relevant. Bloody Beetroots? These men could have them for breakfast.

They do delve into the past a little mid-set: what's introduced as the oldest song in their collection sees Ding brutalise a guitar and sounds rather like DAF, and a cover of "Empire State Human" pays homage to the electro pioneers of slightly closer to home, but soon the feverish beats are back with duelling vocals adding to what's by now become a true multi-sensory experience. A quick glance at the set-list reveals the final tracks rejoice under titles like "Crash", "Big Fist" and "Pain Amplifier" as several people possibly old enough to know better (your correspondent included) dance like it's our last chance before the apocalypse. And anyway, if this was the sound of the near future 20 years ago - a future in which electronics would play more and more of a role in our daily lives as the heavy industry of the twentieth century coughed its dying breaths, and slogans bombarded us from every angle - then that makes it the sound of now, doesn't it? Walking out into Salford, where the shiny architecture of the new world rubs shouders with wastegrounds and half-derelict buildings with the coloured lights of Manchester city centre rising above the railway arches, it certainly feels that way.

AAAK [As Able As Kane]
Gabrielle's Wish

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