Jazz theatre is not something I'd previously experienced but Vonk do it with aplomb. The Marquis de Sade had something to do with the early part of their show and once their numbers had beefed up to six from three the bible got a look in as well as theories on the need to tell stories. The rest of my notes on the show are as follows:- Pythonesque, the Duchess of Cambridge, The IT Crowd so make of that what you will. Picture also such diverse elementsas clay flower pots, machine parts scraped with screwdrivers, a length of hose with a funnel, a mouthpieceless clarinet and an apple all being used alongside the more conventional cello, guitar, xylophones etc. and you may gain some idea of the experience.
Happy Meals opened the night at Hall Of Fame and their set recalled early Sugarcubes along with a distinctly Eighties dance edge hovering around in the midst of the heavy drum machine beats. A world away from Lewis Cook's work with The Cosmic Dead.
Merzbow and Full Of Hell were pretty far from hardcore at the time I chose to see them. Sax, drums and noise noodling so again one for the aficionados, of which a fair sized number had turned out.
Los Piranas, over at Dudok, provided some welcome light relief with their engaging and utterly upbeat modernisation, via psychedelia & free jazz, of traditional Colombian styles. There closing number was a thoroughly unexpected but playful & uplifting version of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. A very fun act to catch.
Local boys Radar Men From The Moon need no introduction to their hometown crowd and so just launch into their hypnotically entertaining set of overdriven and spaced out instrumental wonders back over at the Hall Of Fame, which is slowly taking on the role of favoured mid-sized space.
Back to a skewed version of the Sixties next in a Stadskelder that thankfully has the air con on this time around. The Glockenwise share territory with the likes of the Black Lips but the Portuguese quartet bring their own thrashed-up style to the party too. A fine warm up for what was to appear here later, especially the supercharged rendition of 'Leeches'.
Dudok definitely seems to be the party & feel-good venue tonight as Dengue Fever had some good crowd interaction as well as bigging up Los Piranas and Sun Araw who was playing across town later on. They came over live like the fun party band they've always sounded like on record with their unique reimagining of south east asian Sixties rock. On the way round the corner there was just time to stop in to Extase to catch a number by eclectic Spanish duo Za!. Mixing looped tribal chants over a funk/thrash metal base the pair were clearly having a ball on stage and the decent sized crowd were clearly getting exactly what they wanted.
The Melvins yet again pulled in a near capacity crowd Midi, Buzzo opting tonight for the all-seeing eye on his get up. Newer material seemed to be the order of the day with the main body of the crowd rather calmer than last night, content just to bop along rather than get into the pits and so forth. A pit or anything close to it wasn't at all possible back at Cul de Sac where young Belgians El Yunque were forced to mainly occupy the space in front of the stage due to the act after them having a kettle drum attached to their drum kit. Overcoming the lessening of sight lines between them and their own drummer they whirled around like dervishes and did the crowd's dancing for them as they hammered out their noise-rock with enviable displays of energy. Special mention has to go to the drummer who looked like he'd been caught in one of this week's regular rain showers, such was the amount of sweat pouring off the lad. An utterly committed band who hopefully will go on to gain wider acclaim.
Feeling in the mood for a seat it was off to Paradox now for yet more non-jazz in the city's premier jazz club. Iguana Death Cult are a homegrown surf/garage/psych quartet and so had attracted a fair sized crowd for their fast & loud performance. Hook-wise they were a bit lacking, rather making up for their influences mixing down to a rather generic final product by giving an exuberant performance. Trying to sort out camera issues occupied my foreground whilst they were on in the background.
More Belgian noise came from tonight's penultimate band, Ghent's Mind Rays, another element of Richie Dagger's Garage Basement at the Stadskelder. Theirs is a sound that ranges from classic Pixies to the rawest, unpolished garage punk whilst covering the shortest distance possible in between. Another act packing out the oven that is this small venue and giving the crowd what they demanded.
Finally tonight it was earplugs-in-time for Teeth Of The Sea at Hall Of Fame. Anyone not already deafened by Merzbow or The Melvins would certainly have been finished off here as the band thundered out their work along similar lines as when last experienced at the 2014 Liverpool Psych Fest. They arrived on stage a tad late so the fact of that could be felt propelling them to new heights of noise and greater emotion in their playing. The organ-shaking beats rolling off the stage were enough in themselves to signal this as the performance from which there was nowhere else to go tonight.