Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Richter Collective Christmas Party at The Button Factory

The belated 2nd annual Richter Collective Christmas party was more like a one day festival than a record company showcase. The evening was tinged with regret at the original date being rescheduled, due to the snow and the general consensus inside The Button Factory was that, out of all the postponed shows, this was the one that laid heaviest on the heart. Alas the Christmas atmosphere was nowhere to be seen but the large crowd that gathered were eager.  Free Cd's, vinyl and posters were gratefully squeezed into bags, jackets and purses.  There was a steady line at the merch stand all evening, purchasing the Not Squares album on 12" seemed almost the evening progressed.

First up on the night where Belfast post punk fruity loops The Continuous Battle of Order. This duo create an enormous sound with just one guitar, drums and the help of a loop station. Guitarist Hornby is technically proficient delivering crunchy Kyuss style riffs and Yngwie Malmsteen style finger tapping. Add to this the continuous looping of riff upon riff and it creates a unique sound.  The highlight of their set came when guitarist Hornby put down the guitar and played drums on his amp and cymbal stands before eventually joining drummer Craig Kearney on drums full stop, Wowing the crowd in the process. With the crowd now fully on board The Continuous Battle of Order hammered out some big riffs before ending with stand out track Pattern Seeker the title track from their debut album.

Next up was hotly tipped Dublin quartet Logikparty who have built up a cult following over the last year and on the basis of tonight's performance its easy to see why. In lead singer Benni Logikparty have Ireland's answer to Karen O and Siouxsie rolled into one. She strides the stage like a skipping nymphet, sexy and slender. While this is sure to win them legions of male followers Benni's voice is her real weapon, powerful, raw and broken-glass dirty. While her lyrics are dark political voyeurism. The music is a brooding dark re-imagining of Ant Music and Bow Wow Wow with elements of Sonic Youth, Talking Heads and Joy Division also thrown into the mixer.

Jogging one of the best punk bands you are ever likely to see, brought things to a new level with their high energy performance. Their debut album 'Minutes' is nominated in several categories in the upcoming Digital Socket Awards and its easy to see why. Jogging are a powerful punk trio their music is a speed ball of intellect and anger, technique and raw energy. Tables are discarded as the intro for Cleft Chin Good Heart kicks things off and the moshing begins. Their sound is a cross between The Mars Volta and Black Flag. Songs such as Threadbare and Shape Up Shakedown are even better live, as the bands stage presence drags you in. Jogging will surely occupy one of the headlining slots at the next Christmas party.

Next up we have another Digital Socket nominated band and post rock poster boys Enemies. Enemies are propelled by two drummers and intricate layered guitar parts, which swarm at you from all sides. The tightest band of the night so far. They make the Foals look like they are still being collected from kinder garden by their Mommies. In a scene that has become over saturated and bland Enemies remain fresh, because their compositions are entrenched in melody. Each song is intelligent, multifaceted, purposeful and individual. They do not try and hoodwink the audience by going over the same ground repeatedly, like many of their peers. Instead they try to build intense and varied soundscapes.

Cult heroes Bats are like Marmite they cause an intense emotional response from people who either love them or hate them, in equal measure. There genre spanning, defying and destroying rock, is not for the faint hearted. Part Cannibal Corpse, part indie disco, part Frank Zappa, part Placebo, add any band you like to that list and you'd be no closer to accurately describing the musical blender that is Bats. Their live show is ferocious, uncompromising and unforgiving. If Aleister Crowley was backstage I wouldn't be surprised, such is the level of superhuman creativity on display.

Filling the Orbital slot on this one night stand is Belfast trio Not Square currently riding a critical wave of affinity with their excellent debut album 'Yeah OK' and catchy single Asylum. Their lively mix of synths, catchy bass guitar riffs and hummable refrains make them one of the most exciting bands around at present. Their live show does not disappoint. If anything, it makes them more human to their audience. It's great to see they can actually play the songs live and not wholly rely on backing tracks, computer wizardry and pantomime. Instead they choose to work hard for their audience, who duly show their appreciation by singing along en mass to such tracks as Asylum and Don't Do Nothing.

Not Squares capped off a thoroughly enjoyable night of music sans Santa. The Richter Collective should be proud of themselves, they have created their own little empire of song. Becoming a label that consistently releases thought provoking music of the highest quality, whatever the genre, in the process. The Richter Collective stamp is fast becoming a Q mark like Creation Records once was.

No comments: