Day two started with Zenta Sustained, a collaboration between Ryan Bloomer (Traumatone, Piss Horn, Ride At Dawn ad infinitum) and Sam McInlay (The Rita). Their cassette on Nurse Etiquette is a fine example of an obsession with the breaking point of sound and sustained (no pun intended) focus on the moment of collapse. A great piece of work and all the more reason why i’m a complete fucking idiot for missing their set as i’ll probably never get a chance to see them live together again. I guess i’m just getting old and can’t keep up.
I also missed Grand Nord, Martin of Wapstan/ Selfish Implosions and many more. Martin described it as a budget version of Knurl. Despite myself i really enjoy a lot of Martin’s projects, even though some of the elements are pretty much everything i find reprehensible about the presentation of music/ noise.
Martin tends to dress up his acts in a degree of the ridiculous. I know he performed his Grand Nord set in a specially made hockey mask and gloves and his Selfish Implosions project is “skate power electronics”, complete with garish clothing, tie dyed bandanas and yelling abuse about long boarders. But fuck, Selfish Implosions were great when we played with them in Montreal last year; i just needed to close my eyes and ignore the words.
I guess part of my repulsion to this tongue in cheek approach is that i find it idiotic and to me it makes me think people aren’t serious about their art (and i use that word in the loosest of ways). As Martin put it to me once he is deadly serious and from his perspective there is nothing more ridiculous than the cliché of the po-faced power electronics approach. And he’s correct in a sense but i still don’t believe that punk, metal and noise would be dramatically improved by the addition of humour and sense of fun and good times.
But yeah, great guy with some good projects, i just have to get over my prejudices.
Warlock Moon were next, i saw part of their set and wasn’t really in the mood for it. They played an inept style of raw punk black metal. And when i say inept i don’t necessarily mean that as an insult; i find much joy in many acts that are written off as inept. I should probably listen to their demos more and get a better sense of them.
They finished with a song called "Slums of Israel", complete with a lyric that sounded like "Die fucking jew". They make reference to the song in question in this interview.
Murder Squad i missed as i was in desperate need of food. The audience quota of studded denim and facial tattoos was high and they’re probably Toronto’s longest flag bearers for DIY crust metal. And Mike makes a mean Bloody Mary.
Crux of Aux from Hamilton are still completely under rated. They play a blend of weirdo noise rock (the influence of which is strongest in their singer’s vocals and actions), hardcore, borderline thrash metal and bands like Melvins and Keelhaul. Far more unique than merely being a bunch of bands all blended together as i may be suggesting. A great band all around, certainly a great choice for this fest and great for me because some of the dudes are clearly even more middle aged than i am.
Obviously thus far day two, to me, was a lot different in atmosphere than day one, and that’s not a complaint. Not every show can or should be a stirring up of a room full of shitty attitudes into one giant punk rock love-in. Sometimes i just want to turn my brain off and listen to some good bands as they are.
Paranoid Time reverted to day one’s performance altering the performer aspect but in a very different though no less valid way.
This was an interesting one, due to the more straight up metal and punk nature of the show there were more people present who clearly didn’t care for noise, which is both understandable and welcome. Watching reactions and attempts to get to the bar by pushing past a guy rubbing a metal sculpture on a table whilst yelling his head off was funny.
Pat’s set was basically a very haphazard metal bashing, vocals and feedback affair but performed with a lot of heart (the same analogy of noise as modern soul music applies to Paranoid Time as it does to Body Collector). Pat’s enthusiasm is both clear and hard not to get swept up in; he’s obviously having a total blast doing it and wants you to join in. It’s the idea of fun and humour conveyed without the need to dress up as a giant skateboarding banana or whatever (which always felt like a curse when seeing UK noise performances in the 1990s).
Sharp blasts of noise are stopped every minute or so as Pat stops to interact with the crowd and give a fake sense of it being a set of songs. And big deal, it’s not like The Endless Blockade has some really every-song-is-unique approach to music, quite the opposite.
Pat’s personal aesthetic is clearly rooted in hardcore punk and DIY grindcore; it translates through his energy and his label’s approach to graphic design. Observe the difference between his more ‘respectable’ label SNSE and his offshoot Gaping Hole with its more over the top dirt bag punk/ grind approach to uniform packaging, both homogenous and incredibly personal (meaning it gives a sense of Pat) at the same time.
And then my other band Slaughter Strike played. We’re still pretty new but every show we’ve played has been packed and well received, we totally have the “ex-members of” thing in our favour. I guess we play a lot of death metal influenced music but filter it through an unforgiving lens of misanthropic hardcore punk narrow mindedness like Discharge and No Security. It’s a totally different mind-set to The Endless Blockade for me.
What attracts me to what i consider ‘real’ death and black metal is the idea that an obsession with death and morbidity is really just a longing for a universal silence and an inner stillness. Witness relatively recent acts like Necros Christos, Ofermod/ Nefandus and several others for perfect examples. If it doesn’t have that sense that the maelstrom and fury is leading to an inner meditative calm i generally don’t care for it in metal.
Orodruin finished the fest off in fine style, really, the perfect end to events. Honest and emotional old school doom. I have to say i’m loathe to refer to them as old school just because they forgo the 0bpm and screaming approach that passes for doom amongst a lot of people these days but it fits a certain frame of reference i’m aiming for.
They have a great sense of melancholy and a sense of searching for hidden knowledge, much like the much missed Warning, though far less down on themselves than Warning appeared to be.
End of day two. Conclusions still to come.