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Gig review gig reviews (Scottish)

Blanck Mass / Sevendeaths

As part of series of gigs in this architectural gem (the only church that Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed) in North West Glasgow this one looked very tasty.

The ‘Museum of the Moon’ festival has involved installing a large (well ok, like massive) moon inside the church as a backdrop (no not really, it dominated the entire the building) to the gigs, beginning with a couple of performances of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ earlier in the week. A nicely stocked bar, lots of CRM archives to peruse and volunteer ushers gave the event a relaxed feel – fair play to the promoters, the whole thing was a great idea.

Tonight it was the turn of the dark lord of electro-noise terrorism, but before that the sound system was given a good workout by Edinburgh’s Sevendeaths. Starting out with some atmospheric synth swells and washes, he built things up to a beat and choral tinged finale in a half hour set – the soundscapes worked very well in as the audience filed in and took their pews under the killing moon.

By 9.30pm it was time for the main act. The man himself (an Edinburgh resident these days) told BM beforehand that the sound levels would be “just about there”, ie very loud indeed. Earplugs were provided but BM was more concerned for the plate glass windows and a potential lawsuit from the CMR Society for destroying their church!

Since striking out solo from the inestimable F__ Buttons combo, Benjamin John Power has been doing his thing across several albums in the last few years. Selections were drawn tonight mainly from most recent long player ‘World Eater’ and the previous ‘Dumb Flesh’ along with a couple of other tracks. And it was loud, ‘The Rat’ starting with a furious pounding drum sound before moving through the gears of synths, backing vocal samples and BJP’s own live yelling – quite some racket and yes it did shake the rafters.

‘Rhesus Negative’ was just as effective, the almost Gary Numan-esque riff and tribal percussion giving this old church some unholy noise. The crowd, swelled now to almost full, was loving it although BM suspects the holy surroundings may have held back some of the urge to rave…

‘Dead Format’s incredible density and commitment to absolute sonic annihilation was impressive, as always. ‘Silent Treatment’ mixed vocal samples and more all-out sonic overdrive, as well as mixing up the tempos at bit to a shuddering trip-hoppy backdrop. Perhaps the best known Blanck Mass tracks these days ‘Please’ was also very effective, the solo keyboard line echoing around the church, one of the best soundmixes BM has heard of Blanck Mass.

The next couple of tracks, ‘D7-D5’ and ‘Great Confuso’, are older favourites and went down very well, before the sign-off ‘Odd Scene’ brought screaming metal guitar samples into the mix, BJP screaming the vocals while the treated guitar noise did the rest, leaving the audience breathless and truly battered.

A great gig at an unusual venue, an absolute treat! And all under that moon, which BM understands will be making an appearance at Kelburn over the summer.