Monday, 10 September 2007

Spilled drinks and hearing loss

One of my favourite things about going to gigs is the ‘brain flush’ effect. The music enters my cranium via my ears and forces everything else out, and for the time that the band is playing they are the only thing that matters and nothing else is real.

Of course, this only really works if I’m enjoying the music. But it just so happens that the gig I went to on Tuesday was one of those legendarily awesome billings, the kind where even the opening act is a band that I would gladly pay money to go and see.

The opening act in question was Taint. I’ve seen them a couple of times before, and am constantly impressed by the way that the three of them, with just drums, bass, guitar and throat, are able to create such dense layers of sound without resorting to any kind of technical jiggery-pokery. They’re kind of like an instrumental hard rock outfit… except there’s vocals…

Next up was Russian Circles, an actual instrumental rock outfit. Falling somewhere between the huge tectonic riffs of Pelican and the post-rock nihilism of Red Sparowes, they created music that was intricate and engaging enough that any kind of vocals would have been quite superfluous, and therefore were not missed.

And then headliners High On Fire, a thrashy stoner-doom trio who are nothing like instrumental rock, even though most of their songs are 50% guitar solo. They were very metal, and in the confines of The Cooler (which normally serves as some kind of pretentious little indie club) they were so impossibly loud that at times I felt quite dizzy. As excellent as they were, the devastating volume meant that their set was one to be endured more than enjoyed. Or maybe both.

Rather unsurprisingly, this left me quite deaf for a few days afterwards – which in turn meant that I also became quite mute. It’s not like I’m particularly talkative at the best of times, but there didn’t seem to be any point in trying to converse with others, since to me it just sounded as though they were mumbling. It was all a little bit odd.

Fortunately my hearing returned after two or three days, so I was able to get back into my routine of playing Blood Bowl all day with Jeff “I Was Raised By Hyenas” McDeath, and having loud and animated discussions in the pub with him, Charlie and The Boy. In true nerd-core fashion, these discussions mostly fell under the “Who would win in a fight between…” category; only instead of being fights between comic book characters or daytime TV presenters, they were fights between animals – a kind of King of the Jungle Arena of Death. It started out as lion vs crocodile; then brown bear vs crocodile; and then brown bear vs silverback gorilla, before eventually devolving into “What’s the biggest/most dangerous animal you could take on armed with nothing but a hammer?”.

This is of course a ludicrous debate of no merit whatsoever. And so naturally, the TV show has already been made…

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