Archive for April, 2023

Sinners Music Records – 15th May 2023

On reviewing the debut EP by Fashion Tips recently, I commented that the northern noise ‘scene’ was, in effect, more of a community. I suppose this is something that is true of many more niche corners of the musical world, and it’s certainly true of the electronic scene, particularly that which has grown up around the EMOM (Electronic Music Open Mic) nights that take place around the country as a platform for all strains of all things electronic based (several of which I’ve reviewed, and a few of which I’ve performed at). These nights are a broad church, and have not only welcomed me, but opened the doors for myriad collaborations, as well as providing a safe space for testing stuff out as well as an opportunity for seasoned performers and novices alike to connect with an accommodating audience, and this release comes courtesy of Sinners Music Records, established by Ian J Cole, another face familiar to attendees of the York EMOM nights, who also streams the Audiophile radio podcast showcasing weird and wonderful exploratory electronica.

Mho – that’s ohm backwards, and pronounced ‘mo’ – is the musical vehicle of Dave Walker, who’s been a regular face at the EMOM scene, and has become established as being instantly recognisable for his stagewear, with neon-splatter t-shirt and hat. Obviously, these visual props don’t translate to the recordings, which must stand on their own merits – and they very much do.

Over the course of ten tracks, Walker showcases a broad span of styles and sounds, and the compositions are all accomplished and considered. As his bio states, he ‘began his foray into making electronic music at school when he built a Transcendent 2000 synthesiser and a ETI String Synth, as the Polymoog synth cost as much as a house back then’. He’s since switched to more contemporary kit, but his years of experience have led to a nuanced approach to musicmaking: there’s a lot of detail, but nothing’s overdone. Every drop, every time the beats bang back in, every layer, every stutter, every new sound and sample, is perfectly placed – but not in such a way that the precision leads to sterility. Walker’s tunes flow with a rare naturalness, and there are no jarring jolts or awkward lurches between segments.

Predominantly, these pieces are built around conventional piano sounds and broad strokes of synth which fill out broad spaces, and there’s a lot of analogue-style pulsations, too, cut from the cloth of Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream.

There’s something familiar that I just can’t quite place about the melody of ‘Nie Rozumiem’ (which will undoubtedly annoy me for days), and elsewhere, ‘Chorale’ brings ambience with low-key beats that washes along nicely, being largely undemanding but pleasant. ‘Eternal’ brings a hint of Eastern promise and a vaguely operatic vocal carried on a soft breeze of shuffling beats and rippling piano.

‘Contact’ and ‘Moon’ appear to be thematically linked, the former bursting with samples and laser-beam bleeps, and it does have quite an 80s feel to it. This, though, is true of much contemporary electronic music which isn’t overtly dance – or EDM and the encroaching Americanism would have it. The latter is a seven—minute sonic exploration that expands through time and space with crackling radio transmissions from the lunar landing of 69.

‘Take it Easy’ is pure 80s retro tootling melting into 90s euphoric trance, and while well-executed, it’s perhaps the least engaging or enticing tracks on the album, but it’s but a brief weakness in an otherwise solid album which concludes with the surprisingly light and accessible spin of ‘I Am With You’ which practically skips along.

With EMOM sets providing just ten to fifteen minutes for artists to showcase their style (these nights are absolutely bloody packed, to the point that despite being ‘open mic’, all slots are usually taken a full month in advance), it’s good to hear the full span of the elements which feature in an Mho set, and even better to hear that Mho has the material for not only a longer set, but a full album which is at once diverse and cohesive.



Constellation – 12th May 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

Ky Brooks’ solo work is, on the face of things at least, a very far cry from her output with noise-punk trio Lungbutter. This, of course, explains why it’s her solo project rather than the new addition to the Lungbutter catalogue: sometimes things just don’t belong together under the same banner.

That said, there was always a slightly experimental / arty bent to Lungbutter’s work, and it’s this which stands to the fore on Ky’s solo album. The title track is exemplary – and ultimately, fucking weird. Entitled with ‘teeth’ in parenthesis, it features a robotically-delivered monologue about ‘the integrity of the teeth’ and some weird shit over a gently gliding drift of warm, fuzzy synths. Teeth often make me think of Martin Amis, and specifically Dead Babies, but also my late grandmother who had all of her teeth removed when she was nineteen, to be replaced with false teeth she would wash with soap. I suppose you might say I’m easily triggered on account of my randomly-tripping memory which tends not to be my friend. But if it seems like an epic tangent, bear with me: it’s relevant because this is what music does: it sends you places. They’re not always good places, they’re not always or even often the places you expect, but it can open doors to recollections.

I suppose this makes the joy of music something of a double-edged sword, something I hadn’t always appreciated. You want it to open the channels and provide conduits for emotional connection, to evoke and provoke – well, at least some of us do. It’s not always comfortable or easy, but it’s about feeling something, and that emotional resonance simply cannot be found in the oil slick of mainstream middlingness, where everything is processed and pre-digested. Power Is The Pharmacy is anything but.

‘All the Sad and Loving People’ does rippling, pulsating ambience before whappy automated vocal wanders around all over it and things go strange. It’s pinned together by a slow, clacking beat that’s murky and subdued, evoking the spirit of Portishead with a smoky trip—hop vibe, which is in stark contrast to the sharp, stark spoken word of ‘Work that Superficially Looks Like Leisure’ which is unsettling in its Stepford Wives pro-conformity zeal which we instinctively understand to be false long before it turns rabid, both in its vocal delivery and crashing jazz drum explosion that rides in on a swell of expanding noise.

The Dancer’, released as a single is hypnotic, entrancing, and detached, deranged, with a looping synth blip bubbling along through sonorous scrapes and driven by an insistent, impersonal beat. You can probably dance to it, but you’re more likely to feel a growing tension as it cyclically bubbles its way over the course off nearly five minutes.

But then what do you do when immediately presented with a song like ‘Revolving Door’? It’s like Jarboe-era Swans and Big |Brave, with crushing chords providing the backdrop to a breathy, haunting vocal. You certainly don’t find a comfortable category for Ky or her work that’s for certain. ‘Dragons’ brings next-level intensity, and while there numerous comparisons which float into my mind, perhaps it’s better to highlight a unique talent rather than tame it with contextualisation.

There are so many details and textures here that make Power Is The Pharmacy an album that requires repeat listens in order to absorb them. That’s a challenge in itself, because it’s not an immediate album, and it’s a record that leaves you feeling like you need a break, to sit and stare into space for a bit after.

And perhaps that’s the way to approach this: with space, to allow it to breathe, and with no concrete expectations. The spoken word passages are very much akin to David Bowie’s Outside, I realise, and Power Is The Pharmacy could be described as a concept album of sorts. It’s certainly a strange album, but it’s interesting.


cover Ky - Power Is The Pharmacy

Seismic Wave Entertainment – 3rd April 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

Now That We Are All Ghosts is the second album from Milwaukee’s Resurrectionists. It was self-engineered, recorded and produced; and mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. The blurbage describes the album as featuring ‘nine songs of Doom Chamber-Americana, all powerfully cinematic and ripe for video treatments, leading the group to take the unusual and ambitious step of commissioning videos for every one of them.’ And we were privileged to premier the clip that accompanies ‘Let Me Talk You Through This One’ at the start of this week. Privileged because it’s really something special, not to mention unique.

It’s a crazy project for a crazy album. Returning with a different lineup and different approach to songwriting from their 2019 debut What Comes In, Now That We Are All Ghosts is, on the one hand, a set of accessible and somewhat folksy Americana songs. On the other…it’s dementedly intense and anything but the accessible Americana it presents as.

It’s noisy, and it’s intense, and the first song, ‘A Classic Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue’ (also my first encounter with the band) is a magnificent work, an example of songwriting that gets the slow-build, the power of transition, evolving from a sparse and gloomy to a rip-roaring soul-purging in no time, and it paves the way for a tempestuous, tumultuous album that drags the listener through some tough and unexpected twists and turns. ‘Hobnobbing With High Value Targets’ is superficially docile but channels darker undercurrents, both sonically and lyrically.

Whatever this album seems to be, it’s always so much more. The songs always end up in a very different place from there they begin: ‘The Ghost This Time’ is a slow blues-crooner, but it’s bruised and raw and there are some tendrils of post-rock tendencies which tickle their way around the wandering bassline. Joe Cannon sounds fraught, wracked, caught in a turmoil, and to draw an obscure reference, it brings together the most fucked-up evangelism with the psychological spasms of Mark Eitzel’s sole turn at fronting Toiling Midgets on the album Son.

‘The New Winter’ starts out with some vintage 70s US rock swagger, but rapidly shifts somewhere else and winds up coming on like Dinosaur Jr, while ‘Blue Henry’ begins softly, before erupting in a tide of anguished emotion, Cannon practically choking on his words as he wrenches them from his throat. Thew downtempo ‘Let me talk You Through This One’ is two minutes of wistful, reflective slackerist Americana, with hints of The Silver Jews.

The album’s final – and finale – track ‘(hotel with pool)’ may sit in parenthesis, but it encapsulates all aspects of the album and amplifies them further in a monumental six-minute monster, that grows and grows, from a somewhat tentative and soulful start to climax as a raging tempest, where instruments and vocals alike are pushed to the limit.

Now That We Are All Ghosts is one of those albums that really does take you by surprise, curving in first from one way and then the other, sliding in gently before tearing shreds in its own very fabric. Understated yet intensely potent, this is a powerful and accomplished album.



Everyday Is The Song is an evocatively drifting ambient-adjacent work of sampled tape, a diaristic soundwork that weaves interconnected songs out of field recordings and ephemeral music snippets featuring dozens of players in Void’s artistic community, including Owen Pallett, Sarah Pagé, N NAO, Shota Yokose and YlangYlang.

Two tracks from the album have just been made public.

‘Present Day Montage’ is one of them, and it begins as a scratchy droning chordal piece sampling organ from “I’ve Never Seen Paris In The Spring” by Philadelphian Darian Scatton’s Still Sweet project (from a rare 7-inch on Edible Onions), gradually blended with samples from a Montréal live performance recording by Acid Mt. Royal (Sarah Pagé, Maya Kuroki, Shota Yokose & Eddie Wagner). Void drops one of their trademark minimal broken-clockwork beats around the halfway mark, accentuating the sense of temporal slippage and transience. Disembodied atonal singing voices, the echoes of crowds and empty spaces, and the glistening of freight trains grinding on the tracks that run through Montréal’s Mile-End district, create a montage that melds gently otherworldly melancholy with concrete urban-industrial specificity.

“Present Day Montage” has a self-explanatory title. As one of the closing songs on the album, it was meant to evoke a time-lapse sequence that runs up to my current time and place, in relation to the years where ‘this album took place’—like those epilogues at the end of films that describe the fate of the characters. This time-lapse reveals both changes and repeated cycles, elements that stay in place and others that drift by, the sensation of both fast motion and slow stillness. — Joni Void

Listen to ‘Present Day Montage’ here:


25th April 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

Today I did something that was pretty alien to me: I took a break. Having dropped the car at the garage for a service, I walked some four miles back into town, and with another mile and half to get me back home, I stopped in at a pub and sat on the first floor with a pint, just looking out of the window watching people drift by on the street below. There were some interesting tunes being aired through the hidden speakers, from early New Order to The Jesus and Mary Chain. At some point, Dum Dum Girls’ cover of ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ came on and not for the first time in recent months, began to reflect on The Smiths, since I recently offloaded my entire vinyl collection of their works. It wasn’t just that I need the money – and the £800 I raised was certainly useful – but this was an act of purging. That Morrissey is a monumental cunt had certainly been bugging me for some time, but then I have many records by people who have long been known to be monumental cunts and I haven’t felt the compulsion to jettison their junk. No, his cuntdom was just the tipper after I came to the conclusion that these records no longer spoke to me and hadn’t been played much since I left my teens, and the death of our monarch, which led to the obvious song gaining ubiquity on my social media feeds simply left me weary.

But on hearing this cover, I found myself thinking ‘but this is a great song’. And so, arriving home to find Spiritual Front’s cover of ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ in my inbox felt somewhat serendipitous.

Taken from their upcoming album of Smiths covers, The Queen is Not Dead, it’s a very straight cover that not only pays homage but great attention to detail in terms of the arrangement, mostly only adding swathes of strings near the end. And it, too, is – still – a great song. Although not all of The Smiths’ songs were great – the albums included a a lot of pap, like ‘Frankly, Mr Shankly’ – but it’s hard to fault their singles and the craft. Perhaps, then, it does come back to the issue being Morrissey, his cuntiness and his adenoidal tones which my wife always hated so – meaning that, ultimately, at least for me, it becomes a question of context, and hearing covers of the songs is preferable and less problematic than hearing the originals.

As the bio which accompanies the release details, ‘With The Smiths carved so deeply into the Romans’ collective heart that they had played full shows featuring the English rockers’ classic hymns in recent years, it was only a short step to record a full tribute album when taking a break from touring. Spiritual Front went about their task with the explicit aim to pay a respectful homage yet at the same time to stay away from cloning. Across the album’s fifteen tracks, which many consider sacred, the Italians stayed true to the original recordings, while pulling those songs closer to the sonic world of Spiritual Front for example by adding strings and horn parts.’

This, of course, is the ultimate pull of The Smiths: anyone who has endured those awkward teenage years as an outsider, who’s been sixteen, clumsy, and shy, will feel that connection to these songs. And for a band whose recent output, dubbed ‘nihilistic suicide pop’ has drawn comparisons with Nick Cave, Swans, and Scott Walker, it still makes sense that The Smiths would be there in the background.

But to hear the weathered, tattooed Simone Salvatori enunciating ‘ah-ho, la-la, ladadada’ – well, it does seem somehow incongruous. For all that, he pulls it off well, and while I’m on the fence with the video, it’s a solid cover that suggests the album will be worth hearing.



Spiritual Front by Marco Soellner


ME LOST ME shares the video for ‘Festive Day’, from her upcoming album, RPG (due 7th July via Upset The Rhythm). A selection of dates in support of Richard Dawson throughout May have also been announced, more details below.

Songwriter Jayne Dent comments on the track;

“’Festive Day’ is a song about being overcome by intense sensory experiences, of nature, the elements and desire. It’s inspired by spending a midsummer festival in Denmark, when the huge bonfires lit along the coast stayed alight through torrential rain and dense sea fog, which left a massive sensory impression on me. It’s about the coming together of all these elemental forces, feeling connected to this seasonal ritual, and connecting it to the English folk traditions around the same time of year, explored in May carols and similar songs, which often celebrate desire, lust and love alongside celebrations of nature and the land. The music video is an overload of artefacts, it’s fast paced and intense in terms of the editing but I wanted to contrast the emotional intensity of the song by framing it almost as an archive or museum of the future, that is documenting folk traditions and trying to reconstruct them and understand them, but missing that vital emotional component. I worked with folk musician and dancer Mark Insley, who choreographed a dance in the Cotswold Morris tradition, to be featured as part of the music video, and made handkerchiefs in the Morris style featuring elemental symbols.”

Watch the video here:


A prolific writer, ME LOST ME has released two crowdfunded albums: Arcana (2018) and The Good Noise (2020), which was included in Electronic Sound Magazine’s Album of the Year list. These in addition to her latest EP The Circle Dance (2021), which was described as “her most textural and sonically adventurous music to date” by NARC Magazine, and an extensive touring schedule around the UK DIY scene, has won her unique sound much support across the musical spectrum. Dent has notably performed live for BBC Radio 3’s After Dark Festival and as part of the 2022 BBC Proms alongside Spell Songs, Royal Northern Sinfonia and the Voices of the Rivers Edge Choir. She recently received the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers and was 2020-2021 Artist in Residence at Sage Gateshead.

03/05 – The Gate Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK w/ Richard Dawson – tickets

04/05 – St George’s Bristol, Bristol, UK w/ Richard Dawson – tickets

05/05 – Barbican, London, UK w/ Richard Dawson – tickets

06/05 – The Bradshaw Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire, UK w/ Richard Dawson – tickets

07/06 – London – EartH Theatre w/ Xiu Xiu

30/06 – Hyper Inverter Festival, Ulverston, UK

15/07 – The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle, UK (ALBUM LAUNCH)


Photo credit: Amelia Read Photography

Panurus Productions – 28th May 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

There are many things to love about Panurus Productions releases, the main one being the music, which probably goes without saying. But for me, the notes which accompany their releases are always quality – dense slabs of prose that convey the releases in the most physical of terms. And it’s fitting, seeing as said releases, which showcase the vibrant noise scene in the North-East, do tend to be the kind which evoke a certain physical reaction.

The one thing that is apparent is that the scene does involve a lot of bands sharing personnel, and four-piece Fashion Tips are no exception, featuring Esmé Louise Newman of black metal muthas Petrine Cross on vocals and microkorg. She’s joined by Butch Lexington (drums, drum machine), Liam Slack (bass, bass VI) and Jorden Sayer (guitar), and the four tracks were recorded t Liam’s house in County Durham, and was mastered by Freddy Vinehill-Cliffe of Thank and Beige Palace (because there’s a fair amount of cross-sharing in the Leeds scene too, and the northern DIY scene in general. In fact, it’s less of a scene and more of a community, and it’s nice, and I mean that sincerely: in an industry that’s pretty harsh, cutthroat, backstabby and all that shit, it’s a source of joy that there’s a sense of collectivism where artists are mates and help one another out: it should be a model for society in general).

And so it is that Fashion Tips’ debut EP is described as ‘A dance but one of mania, possessed by a need to expunge, switching between mournful and self effacing to raining down scorn. A quivering musculature of strings erupts in spasms of screeches and squawls, held to arched backbone of drums by straining bass tendons. Run through with varicose electronic veins bursting near the surface of skin, a fraught body emits its secrets through a variegated range of croons, shrieks and bellows.’

It sounds a terrifying prospect. The result is, in fact, altogether less scary, although those accustomed to Esmé’s chthonic guttural growls may be surprised by the helium-filled hollers ad yelps here.

Fucking Hell is pitched as ‘Sitting at the uncomfortable mid point between the upbeat and deeply visceral; Fashion Tips drag you in with virulently infectious riffage while simultaneously drenching you with noise and battering you with wild eyed and frantic vocal delivery’.

‘Lunched Out’ is scuzzed out, bass-driven and noisy, but also lively and hooky, and comes on more like X-Ray Spex than anything from the noise-rock scene. The guitars are fizzy fuzz, and the definition comes from the throbbing bass that’s melded to a crisp drum and then there’s the warping space-rock synth lines that really lift it.

Things get heavier with ‘Waltzing’, with hints of Cranes and Daisy Chainsaw bouncing around between the Stranglers-esqe synth, before it melts into a swirling sonic stew on ‘Cinema Vérité’.

‘Standing O’ brings crisp, cutty guitars and a certain (post-)punk minimalism against a swirling mess of feedback and noise, and synths tones that gyrate and grate against one another as everything surges to a rabid climax of barking vocals and a swirling soup of nasty noise.

Fucking Hell stands apart from other Panuras releases on a number of levels, its brevity being one of them. With the longest song clocking in at under four and a half minutes the whole EP’s duration is less than fourteen minutes. But that’s all it needs: Fucking Hell is about instant high impact. And it delivers. It also – unexpectedly, in context – delivers some decent, catchy tunes.



Industrial bass artist, SINthetik Messiah returns with a controversial new single, ‘Know Your Enemy’.

The greatest threat to democracy in the USA is that of communism – not as a social ideology, but rather, one that is psychological in nature. In communist countries, people do not have freedoms or rights. They are modern day slaves who have been brainwashed to love their government.

But ‘Know Your Enemy’ is not about a war that is fought with a bullet, but rather, a war that starts in the enemy’s mind. That war in our minds is the USA’s greatest threat.

‘Know Your Enemy’ presents a blended sound that is inspired by EBM, Industrial Bass and Power Noise. The single also features remixes by SpankTheNun and Anthony H.
The single is available on all major streaming platforms including Bandcamp.

Watch the video here:



Now That We Are All Ghosts is the second album from Milwaukee’s Resurrectionists. The project was self-engineered, recorded and produced; it was mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. The album features nine songs of Doom Chamber-Americana, all powerfully cinematic and ripe for video treatments, leading the group to take the unusual and ambitious step of commissioning videos for every one of them.

‘Let Me Talk You Through This One’ is the fourth of these videos, and it accompanies a laid-back, strung-out lo-fi tune reminiscent of Pavement at The Silver Jews.

The video: An exquisite moody piece by animator Eric Arsnow. Floating towards home (maybe) in a small boat lit only by a lighthouse on an ominous night. He gets there in time.

The song: Originally written for the solo project “The Intelligibles” around the year 2000. A song about ambition, moving places and time.

-Joe Cannon/Resurrectionists

Check the video here…


Resurrectionists pc Brian Theisen

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s been quite a week for Benefits. Kicking off an extensive UK tour in the same week as the release of their debut album, which has landed to universal critical acclaim, they’ve come a long way, and they know it better than anyone. It’s small wonder they’re fired up for this return to Leeds, which is where it all started in terms of their journey as a live act, and which has seen them transition from a homespun lockdown project into a national act with a following that’s growing by the day, due in no small part to their formidable live performances.

But to step back a moment and consider the album, of which myself I wrote a suitably efficiently enthusiastic review of just the other day: ‘universal critical acclaim’ is no mere hyperbole. Sometimes, a release by a major artist will receive a set of (very similar) reviews in the major press which almost feel like there’s been some kind of advance agreement on a consensus that this is one of their ‘good’ albums or a ‘return to form’ or whatever, with only one or two outliers, more often than not in more alternative channels. These moments strike as somewhat suspicious, since you clearly can’t please all of the people, even some of the time when it comes to something as subjective as music.

And yet Benefits have defied all of everything with the reception for Nails. Sure, an interviewer for Louder Than War suggested that the album was ‘depressing; and admitted it wasn’t something he envisaged listening to much, but the site’s review was roundly positive.

This unanimity is testament to the band’s unifying message: while some may find the barrages of noise challenging, there is absolutely no denying their sincerity, passion, or the power of the truth spoken in the lyrics, making Benefits THE voice of the disaffected here in Shit Britain. You might think that having just expended nearly a thousand words on the album the other day I’d be all out of words for benefits, but I’m just warming up, because the more I see and hear them, the more I have to say.

As the place packs out and the queue at the bar packs as deep as the clamour for the front, guitar / drums duo Scrounge entertain us with a vigorous set. They’re a pleasant surprise who start out suggesting that they’re ramshackle punkers with a murky distorted guitar sound, before, over the course of their set, revealing that they’re so much more. Unexpectedly melodic, with some chiming guitar tones, they deliver some proper songs with tunes and choruses, and incorporating both acoustic drums and drum pads, they vary the sound and style throughout the set. They’re indie, but with guts, and remind me in places of A Band of Susans.



Something has changed since Benefits last came to Leeds, and it’s not just the drummer – although Cat Myers is stunning, and her contribution can’t be overstated. This is my third time seeing the band, and the third drummer I’ve seen them with, and Cat really brings a rare level of sonic articulation to the dynamic of the sound. She doesn’t just drum: she drives the colossal walls of noise blasted out by the Major brothers. They’ve never sounded better: the dual-synth noise assault is crisps and clear and subject to perfect separation tonight, meaning the tones and frequencies really hit hard; the bass shakes the bowels while the treble vibrates the nostrils (I take it’s that’s not something only I experience) as they blast through ‘Marlboro Hundreds’: just as it’s the perfect album opener, it’s the perfect set-opener, too, and following with ‘Empire’ again delivers that antagonistic blast of noise and rage that’s utterly flooring.

But as I said, something has changed. They seem more confident – not cocky by any stretch, still as humble as ever – but assured, while the crowd – perhaps there are more here who’ve been swayed by the acclaim – is a but chattier in pockets, which is irritating, but contrasted by the number of people who are shouting the lines back to the stage. There are more calls out, too – not heckling, per se as it’s not critical, but a keenness to engage, bantz (perhaps not best recommended, but indicative of the level of exuberance in the room) and even hands out for high fives (perhaps not best recommended, but indicative of the level of exuberance in the room).

‘Divide and Be Conquered’ delivers a deep dance groove while Kingsley throws rockist mic stand poses, before they take it down a notch with ‘Shit Britain’ with its shuffling beats and splashes of samples.



As I said, the more you listen, the more you discover: they’re not just shouting and walls of noise, and the set’s variety is something that stands to the fore, perhaps more so with the benefit (boom) of familiarity: ‘Warhorse’ is a raw punk, while ‘Council Rust’ is sparse; ‘Thump’ brings a white noise blitzkrieg ahead of a muscular rendition of fan-favourite ‘Flag’, which is utterly devastating.

Kingsley sits, slumped on the drum riser or on all fours between songs later in the set: he pours every ounce of energy and emotion into every line, and while there is clearly an element of performance about a Benefits show, more than anything, it’s about giving it all to every show, every song, every line, every word. This is fucking real. And that’s what people respond to. The music may be aggressive, harsh, delivered right in your face, but it’s unifying.



Hall can barely stand after an extended and ultra-intense rendition of ‘Traitors’, but still just finds the juice for the (not really) encore of ‘Taking Us Back’, which swings into arena rock and which shouldn’t work, but does in fact provide the perfect finish to a set which eschews genre limitations and showcases a band channelling by whatever means, and doing so with colossal force. The experience leaves me too socked in the mouth to wrap up with a pithy one liner or anything smart. Just… fuck, yeah.