Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Nomads, amps and shit-ton of speakers

My nine days long vacation started off with a blast. Jucifer were in town and our own ununseptium-balled experimental post-rockers Tesa opened up for them. I have tremendous respect for the headliners as they've kept it true and released the music they wanted and when they wanted it for nearly 25 years. Top all of that with being constantly on tour for more than a decade and you'll get a band that doesn't just make music but actually live it. Have you ever felt slightly irritated during a summer festival for not having the comfort of your own bed at night? Well, fuck you - this loving couple (yes, they are actually married) have been living a nomadic lifestyle for a longer period of time than the lifespan of your recent pet. I must admit that I had my doubts about seeing Jucifer live this year because their latest release District of Dystopia is just not quite my cup of tea, it has its moments though. Their previous album on the other hand was very far-reaching. Needless to say I consider it being their best work to up-to-date. So long story short, when I heard that Tesa were to open for them, I instantly bought the tickets.

Running late for not more than 15 minutes late Tesa started doing their thing on the Nabaklab's tiny stage. It was packed with a shit-ton (and yes this is an actual measurement unit) of Juciferian cabs and amps making the musicians' performance a bit more intimate than usual by narrowing down their playing space close to minimum. After they finished playing what seemed to be the heaviest live version of the song G from their masterpiece of an album GHOST, it turned out that Jancis, the drummer, had sliced open his finger probably hitting it on one of the cymbals during his ferocious performance. He just took some duct tape while his bandmates Dāvis and Kārlis were making awesome ambient noises, taped his bleeding finger, manned the fuck up and continued on with the show like a boss. I got totally lost in their sound that night even not being high and I think it is safe to say that they stole the show. 

So Jucifer...how to put this mildly...shit the bed. The guitar sound was so gain and bass heavy, so cut in the mids that every single fucking riff turned into an unrecognisable, thick and heavy muck of uninterrupted visceral buzz. To paint a slight picture of how it sounded, imagine sticking your earphone jack into the electrical wall socket, cranking up the volume and bass all the way up. Now add some awesome drumming  on top and listen to slight changes in the current's frequency - here you go, that was what Jucifer sounded that night. I was really disappointed to say the least, they can do a lot better and here is the proof. Same tour, same year, same month, same gear, different sound!

Gain is good and all, but sometimes you just have to dial it back a bit to make room for at least some distinction between the notes. That night I heard stuff from the fans along the lines of "that is the sound they are going for here". I call bullshit on this one - sounding ugly and huge is one thing, sounding like utter shit and making fart noises is something completely different. To the people who said that this is what sludge is supposed to sound like, I say that you are tone deaf and retarded. I hope that this was just a one time fuck up - too small of a venue, too shitty front of the house rig, equaliser settings not suited for the unconventional room, too much gain or just everything put together. It might seem that I'm bashing them but in reality I'm actually trying to give some constructive criticism. That said the drums sounded amazing and the visceral experience of having a wall of sound coming from the speaker wall and just melting away your face was pretty epiche, not quite the SUNN O))) experience but nevertheless epiche.

As a tribute for the latest two albums by Gazelle and Edgar I would just like to add - never forget that 1913 was the year when the bad guys took control over the United States and 1917 was the year when the bad guys took control over Russia.

Nomads, Saturnian and the friendly neighbourhood gig organiser guy. 

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