Saturday, 3 September 2011

The world should go Def. Deftones at Shepherds Bush.

Pulled Apart By Horses*****
Animals As Leaders*****

Shepherds Bush 24th August 2011

I’m angry. Not mildly. Not a slight miff; but a steaming, full on vein bulging angry.
I’ve just been away for a wee break in beautiful Biarritz and, on my return, thought I’d catch up with all the Reading and Leeds coverage (albeit truncated, cleaned up and a tad sanitised by the good people at the Beeb).

Beady Eye. Why, why, why?

So, I settled down to get outside a bottle of something quaffable and waited to be entertained by the ‘best’ alternative/new/indie and exciting music out there. Apparently.

Why am I angry? Because so much of it was derivative, ‘safe’, unoriginal, predictable, awful steaming turd. That’s why.

Admittedly, I only saw the stuff the Beeb had kept but I was not whelmed. Not one little bit.

Don Broco - At least someone's doing it right.
With the notable exceptions of the always excellent, electric and energetic Don Broco, wob class-leaders Enter Shikari, the monolithic but still magical Muse, the brain wrongs of Daryl and Glassjaw and, of course Chino and the boys (playing to a bemused scene crowd), nearly all the performances were lame, self-interested, self-satisfying, onanistic toss. And that's being ├╝ber-kind.

The list of the particularly bad offenders: Beady Eye? Why the fuck are they allowed on stage at all? Ever. The word tired doesn’t do their terrible schtick justice. Dead more like. In fact, fucking embarrassing. And dead. As were The Strokes. Shit. Noah and the Whale: lamentably boring. Everything Everything: Disappointingly banal (I hoped for better). Elbow: soporific.  Bombay Bicycle club: monotonous masturbation. Two Door Cinema Club and The National: the same. MCR: pop puke. Vaccines: over-hyped joyless indie pap. Pulp: meh. The Offspring FFS!!!! Aaaaaarrrrggghhh!

Legal notice. No1.
In advance of offering the antidote to this pernicious musical malaise, I have to administer a kicking to our Broadcasting Corporation: No ASIWYFA? Apparently they were immense. But not one clip to be found anywhere. Sigh.

So, that’s why I’m angry. (the general shit quality, not the mindless omission of AIWYFA – although that didn’t help).

Legal Notice No2.
Before I slip into the bath of joy that is Deftones, I must caveat my sorry arse by saying that I obviously didn’t see all the sets from all the acts. So I’m sure (and hope) I overlooked some flashes of brilliance. WATO, Frank Turner and Jimmy Eat World among them.

Anyway, let’s simmer down. Before someone gets hurt.

Shepherds Bush Empire (O2 whateveritisthesedays). Warm evening. Full house. Anticipation. Oh yes.

Animals As Leaders: Six Strings Good; Eight Strings Better....Niiiice.

Animals As Leaders*****
Things kicked off with the extraordinary and mesmerising Animals As Leaders. All technical brilliance. Eight-stringed guitars. More polyrythms than an ECG of a bloke with bad Atrial Fibulation.  Just cracking. Alright, let’s get the obvious and spurious crits out of the way: they don’t move around much (difficult to do while sweeping, tapping and teasing eight strings every which way). They don’t have much stage presence. And they do border on deep, shoe-gazing Chic Corea-esque modern jazz at times. But I bloody loved them.

Pulled Apart By Horses*****
Arcane Who?
Next up were cheeky Leeds Lads Pulled Apart By Horses. Who, apart from having the second best name in the business are making waves and turning heads. Unsurprisingly. A 30-40 minute set was delivered with heaps of energy and some big-arsed riffage. Their two ‘big’ tuuunes, High Five, Nose Dive Swan Dive and the excellent I Punched A Lion in The Throat were given airings and went down well with the plaid-clad hordes. Fun and flighty stuff although Tom Hudson’s vocals grated a little after a while. Andrew Groves of the spectacular Arcane Roots he certainly ain’t despite sharing a similar dynamic vocal range and strong beard. Not bad though. Not bad at all. And certainly a billion times better than the vast majority of the wet pants on show at R&L.

So, on to the main medicine.  What the world needs to listen to. Or forever remain incomplete and diseased.

The cure. To be taken 23 times a night. 


The Sacramento sons-of-bitches saunter on stage and totally, totally kill it. Opening with Diamond Eyes and Rocket Skates from their last album, they take control from the first anus-contracting chord. There simply aren’t enough bands in the world like Deftones. And it’s a poorer place for it. The miserable, useless tossers in Kasabian, Kings of Leon, The fucking Vaccines, Beady fucking Eye et al should be forced to digest the raw brilliance of Chino and his merry men: it would certainly solve a problem, as they would scuttle off like salted slugs, embarrassed, humiliated and humbled, hopefully never to pick up a Telecaster or a shitty Rickenbacker ever again. Halleluliah.

The set gathers pace, taking in beautiful melancholy and deep, disturbing shifts. There’s not just light and shade here. The nuances engender completely new contrasts that only Stephen Hawking could explain. They butcher, eviscerate, seduce, insult, brutalise, rape, hug, kiss, fist-fuck and gently caress throughout their long and brilliant set. Minerva, Hole in The Earth and the dreamy Sextape lull, You’ve Seen The Butcher, Knife Party and Shove It take you roughly from behind. And Passenger and Be Quiet and Drive act as a mega dose of viagra to the already priapic and orgiastic throng.

The recipe for fulfilling Sex. True.
All capped off with the shuddering climax that is 7 Words. Cigarette anyone?

This was the best I’ve ever seen Deftones. They were, quite simply, magnificent. 23 songs that served as a total sexual experience. Nightmarish at times but blissfully distracting and sexy throughout.

Nobody does it better. Nobody.

More’s the shame. 

But let’s not go back there.

More tunes soon, Bwoooar!

The excellent Midgar and InMe up soon.

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