About two hours before this gig I started to make involuntary noises and exhibit facial tics. I think it was a result of being way too excited about seeing Lightning Bolt. It is a very small venue but Capsule have done a beautiful job (as usual) making the place look great. I notice immediately that this has something in common with every other gig I go to… almost everyone there has a beard and glasses. I have glasses but damn my hormones for not being manly enough to grow a beard. Maybe one day.
Pete Prescription – We arrived part way through Pete Prescription’s set. It was confusing as it veered from happy hardcore covers to guitar infused twitchy electronica. I wasn’t entirely sure about the happy hardcore (I’ve done my time there thank you) but the other stuff he was doing was pretty good and worth checking out. The only problem I could see was that as a one man band with a lot to do he couldn’t engage with the audience at all. Hence a pretty flat live show but good for the ears.
Tweak Bird – Another band I have never heard of but someone said the words “progressive rock” as they took to the stage so I was happily expectant. Or expectantly happy. Not sure which.
There were progressive elements to what they were doing (gongs and synths) but at the core this band were 70’s heavy rock through and through, right down to the hair and beards. Enjoyable but not overly memorable, I will though make an effort to listen to some of their music.
Lightning Bolt – Regular readers might know how I feel about Lightning Bolt. If you’re not a regular reader, suffice to say I nurse a continual and substantial hard on for this band at all times of day and night, and this was my first proper chance to see them live (excluding the Release The Bats fiasco). Ever since seeing the awesome “Power of Salad” live DVD, I realised that seeing Lightning Bolt live was the only way to fully appreciate them and that was proved to me in no uncertain terms. I have never worn earplugs to a gig before but I had heard that they are an essential when watching Lightning Bolt due to the fact that they play VERY, VERY LOUD. VERY, VERY LOUD INDEED.
The next hour passed extremely quickly. I heard “Colossus” and “Nation of Boar”. I heard something off Hypermagic Mountain and Ride The Skies. I heard some tracks I have never heard before. Just as my face began to hurt from grinning they finished. I was confused. I don’t think I have ever been less prepared for a gig to finish.
I regularly tell people that Lightning Bolt are the best band in the world but I never get a chance to tell people why, usually because they walk away or stare at me blankly. Their “songs” are not really specific to any genre, their playing is unique. It’s like they are channelling everything good and primal in music then fine tuning it by playing it at volumes that transcend simply listening. When you add the little touches like Brian C’s mask mic, and Brian G’s hybrid bass / banjo you have … well something special. The sheer joy that transformed the grumpy, stand off-ish audience of bespectacled and bearded thirty somethings into an actual mosh pit was really quite touching and I look forward to seeing this band again as soon as possible.
I would just like to say a big thank you to the two girls who run Capsule. This gig was part of their tenth birthday celebrations, and as part of the décor at the venue they had a list of all the different events and gigs they have put on over this time. I didn’t really realise how good their taste has been, or how many of their things I had been to, but it is fair to say that their efforts have made Birmingham and the world of music much better place. Long may they continue.
Thanks to http://www.katjaogrin.co.uk/ for photos.