Warmduscher/Girls in Synthesis
The Chameleon Arts Café, Nottingham
October 21st 2018
Its eight o’clock on a Monday evening and Nottingham, which acts as a vibrant host to swathes of jostling life at this time at weekends, has the feel of a ghost town. The air feels still and calm around the amplified moon and the city centre’s Halloween fairground has picked up a genuinely eerie Dr.Caligari-esque feeling. Walking into The Chameleon – based in the very heart of the city amongst the most popular drinking establishments, but tucked away like a well-kept secret – is like stepping through a kind of portal as the venue is filling up rapidly with enthusiastic gig-goers attending the nights sold-out event, Warmduscher supported by local riot grrl-infused band Babe Punch and incendiary London trio Girls in Synthesis.
I’ve written a fair bit about how impressed I am with Girls in Synthesis on record in my previous reviews of their EP’s, but this is the first time I’ve caught them live. My friend who caught them earlier in the year tells me to get ready to be further impressed. They emerge onstage looking very much like a gang (something which always appeals to my aesthetic senses in a band) in matching boiler suits to a rolling, slow burning wall of noise building a sense of an event. The opening night of their “Fan The Flames” tour, Girls in Synthesis aren’t so much fanning flames as starting the fire and pouring petrol on it, with a set almost brutally primitive and completely exhilarating. As tends to be key with trios, the dynamic between the three of them (bassist and vocalist John Linger, guitarist and vocalist Jim Cubitt, and drummer Nicole Pinto) creates an intense onstage chemistry. By the time they play last years bile-flavoured “Suburban Hell,” that intensity is off the charts in a manner which is totally infectious. Having had the opportunity in the bar with the band in the hour before their set, its almost like a musical Jekyll and Hyde as the incredibly charming and friendly individuals transform into something like a band possessed as soon as they hit the stage – not that they stay “onstage” in the traditional sense, bringing the guitars and mics into the middle of the room to stand amongst the crowd, breaking down the barriers in almost Brechtian fashion. Any members of the crowd unfamiliar with Girls in Synthesis who were attending primarily for Warmduscher will not doubt have left as converted fans to this exciting live act who I would highly recommend catching on the rest of their tour.
Having received this blast of exhilaration, the crowd are well and truly ready for Warmduscher. A kind of underground “supergroup” formed in 2014 by members of Paranoid London and Fat White Family, the buzz around Warmduscher’s unique sound has accelerated in that time. Opening with a tape recording of a tongue in cheek yarn of someone explaining how they feel in love with the music of Warmduscher, it quickly becomes apparent that this is going to be a real event. Whilst their resonant sound means larger venues are no problem for them to command, the small intimate setting of The Chameleon simply adds to the atmosphere. As the band roll through “All My Friends” with the usual round of introductions, the feeling is less of the standard vocalist-introduces-band and more like that of a television evangelist struck by the light of something other than Jesus and needing to spread his unique gospel. The basslines which are at that heart of their sound pulse across the room with sleazy, primitive life. The crowd are, as predicted, completely swept up. Consequently, I wake up the following morning covered in angry bruises – in other words, the crowd enthusiasm for the collective experience of Girls in Synthesis and Warmduscher has literally bought the blood to the surface of my body. A boisterous, atmospheric, and memorable night.
Girls in Synthesis dates:
Friday 16th November- Phoenix Bar, High Wycombe
Friday 23rd November– The Hope and Ruin, Brighton (with Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) **SOLD OUT**
Photography kindly provided by Debs Anderson