Friday, February 27, 2009

Silver Stairs of Ketchikan, Fuzz Against Junk, Spectrum and Deej Dhariwal

Wednesday 25th Feb - The Croft, Bristol



The Silver Stairs show started all electro-acoustic, a bowed biscuit tin splashing the room in a slow and delicious rasp. A cutting reverberation of squealing metallic tastes, overlaid in a crisscross of directions, a collusion that melted away to a single violin. Exotic colours unfurling, tempered with the slide of the fingers, an Eastern European vibe melding to a drifting Caravanserai grain. Fragments looped over each other, reflected schisms a swirl, the slow smoulder of chant breaking across its back to light bell and singing bowl…

oh, this was just excellent. By the time the guitar came into play and the light chords pressed themselves in the palimpsest, the violin had fled into the background replaced by shivers of amp distortion. These solidified into a golden meadow of a tune, all sun-fed, spanning out its fingers then cast back into shadow, feedback scoring an origami of torn edges… closing on thunderous and crippled strings with a trickle of vocal echoing through as everything began to disperse back to memory …

really wish Paul could have been here he would have loved it…



Fuzz against Junk was a sax and bass heavy psych-distortion, taking in both a Sunburned Hand groovathon and Beefheartian growl. Excellent sketchbook vibes that were sometimes so addictive, all you could do to was fling yourself between it all, and as you can imagine by the lack of detail here, I did an awful lot of that.



I’ll hang my head in shame and say I never managed to see Spaceman 3 in their heyday, although I do own a lot of their output… It has to be said Sonic Boom put on a blinding show that seemed like the Sonic/Jason split was just a work of malicious fiction. The place was crammed, really hot… couldn’t even get a good view and I’m over six feet tall.

As they launched into their set, the memories flooded back as one chord/ riffonics blurred everything away in reparative shimmers, me and Olivetti gorging ourselves silly on the narcotic blooms. Really wanted them to play 'How does it feel?' but it never materialised, a disappointment more than made up for by the 'Suicide' finale which seemed to last a delirious eternity… melting down as each member of the band left the stage until only a warbling drone cut the air…





Spied a disciple in full speaker worship, looked like he was having a crafty slash…

A bemused Deej, was the next on, uncertain if the Spectrum guys would ever be back… Joe was goading him to flick the switch, a glimmer of temptation broke across his face… then after 10 mins everything was terminated in a slight return from the boys as the infinite fell into mangled collapse…





Having missed Deej’s debut last Halloween and another occasion when it just wasn’t to be, I was really looking forward to his set… Disappointment was never on the horizon as that looped guitar and keyboard overlay created a warm and nimble ambience, filled with twilights and splattered lightfall through foliage.

Those chilled out variations looped round burning smiles in your forehead, later to be encircled by the howling of distant freight trains. Ghostly vocals yelling into the void, soaked in the sticky triple image of delay, transforming into blisters of sea life phantom…

Loved that clattering thunder stick, throwing out angry bruises, slipping slowly out of focus…later, pulled into a xylophonic effects soup, the guitar at it’s most alien and exciting, bowing out on guitar agitation and drum addition.

Well worth the wait and probably one of my best gigs of the year (so far…)

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