A Place To Bury Strangers
Manchester, Sound Control
Thursday 10th May 2012

Brooklyn noise-rock band A place To Bury Strangers recently played an astonishing, tinnitus inducing set at Sound Control in Manchester. Andrew Bardsley was lucky enough to witness it & reports back below.

On their Twitter page, A Place To Bury Strangers promise ‘total sonic annihilation.’ After Thursday’s gig at Manchester’s Sound Control, I think my ears would agree with this. The Brooklyn band’s noise-rock left the audience entranced, hypnotised, and most likely deafened.

The cacophony of noise emanating from Oliver Ackermann’s guitar, in addition to their mesmerising light rig, makes a APTBS show feel more like an experience than a mere gig. Barely visible for most of the set behind a thick wall of smoke, Ackermann, backed by bassist Dion Lunadon and drummer Robi Gonzalez offered a glimpse of life inside the group dubbed as ‘New York’s loudest band.’

The band showcased tracks from new EP Onwards To The Wall, as well as delving into material from their two previous studio efforts, the eponymous debut A Place To Bury Strangers and Exploding Head. The UK tour is also in aid of their upcoming third album, Worship, which the band have promised will not feature any material from the recent EP. If this show is anything to go by, the band seem to be continuing their journey into sonic nirvana.

‘You Are The One’, recently made available as a free download (see embedded Soundcloud widget below), showcases the band’s more melodic side. The track highlights Ackermann’s eye for a catchy rock song despite the wall of sound, much like one of the band’s primary influences, The Jesus and Mary Chain. ‘To Fix The Gash In Your Head’, although weakened by the inability to recreate the pounding drum beat live, again shows the band at addictive best.

‘Onwards To The Wall’ sees APTBS display their, dare I say it, indie-pop credentials. However, all is forgotten as the band tear into their blistering finale of ‘I Lived To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart’, followed by ‘Ocean.’ It is at this point that a figure emerges from the smoke, and bassist Dion Lunadon takes up his musical duties within the crowd. Enlightened for a moment by the inquisitive flashes of cameras, he disappears back behind the smoke. Ackermann then begins to wield his Jazzmaster to the ceiling, as if to attempt to match his bandmates’ efforts.

At times, APTBS delve so far into their sonic world it is hard to pick out the moments on record which have earned them the adulation of the NME and Kerrang. Their more radio friendly moments are blurred by the constant pummelling of the senses. However, it is this all out assault that makes APTBS such an intriguing live band. Rarely does any other group create such an all round sonic and visual event, perhaps other than My Bloody Valentine at their height of their powers. Needless to say, if cases of tinnitus in Manchester rise in the coming weeks, we know who to blame.

All words by Andrew Bardsley. Andrew blog’s at Readermeetauthorajb & tweets from @andrewjbardsley

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