Ruby Lounge, Manchester
23 August 2013
An unpredictable and circuitous path has led much-overlooked Manchester heavy dance act AAAK (As Able As Kane) to this point – check their current tour schedule and you’ll find tonight’s modestly scaled gig sandwiched in between stadium support tours with Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Pixies. Their roots go back to industrial hardbeat beginnings in the late 1980s, probably making the band as old as half their current line-up, although despite such roots you’ll rarely hear their name mentioned in the Mancunian roll calls – prophets without honour in their own land indeed.
Here in the relatively small but perfectly formed Ruby Lounge friends and fans are gathered for the launch of the band’s re-release / revamp of their 1988 debut Buildingscapebeat, the new CD of which also features turbo-charged 21st century versions. AAAK 2013 comprise original duo of programmer / bassist Ding and vocalist Paul, now flanked by guitarist Neil, keyboardist and backing vocalist Tamsin and energetic drummer Dan, and the results are an impressive surge of industrial Nitzer Ebb beats overlaid with crunching Killing Joke-style guitar rhythms. New single Tough Luck (see above) thumps out with punked-up Prodigy energy as projections on the side wall show the song’s video, images of the band’s heads visually echoing the performance.
An insistent intersection between rock and programmed dance, their sound is likely to find a willing audience at whichever small club or arena they happen to play next. Here’s to the next twenty five years.
All words by Rob Haynes. More writing by Rob on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.