No Babies, Meddicine @ Dalston Lane house show
No Babies, Meddicine
Dalston Lane house show. 23apr11.
With galactic projections ebbing and flowing on the back wall of what was once someone’s lounge, one might expect an ambient swirl from Meddicine but not a bit of it. Instead the beats are uncomplicated and firm of wrist, Monika’s treated vocals colliding with synth stabs and drones. However she seems to suffer both from technical difficulties and the short attention span of a grindcore goldfish, as the pieces are too limited in their length to really bed in. As a groove begins to flow, it’s cut off in its prime; a row of electro ox-bow lakes. As a set of short, sharp vignettes it’s a little slender and would certainly benefit if the set were to be more cohesive with a touch more bob and weave.
Meddicine uses the back wall projection to divert from her retiring stage presence. If No Babies were to do the same, it would be a shameful waste of electricity as at no point would anyone be looking at it. Indeed audience eyes rarely rest even upon drummer Ace simply for the fact he’s somewhat anchored to his post. The others meanwhile seem keen to mingle.
It is abundantly clear when one watches a band make like amateur joggers and undertake a series of stretching exercises and pumps, that what you’re about to watch will not exactly be like Van Morrison tilting his fedora as a single concession to movement.
All five members raise the arms in the air to synchronise their body clocks and provide a fleeting calm prior to the storm they are about to unlock. When it comes it’s like being hit, and for those in the front row it’s more than a simile, as the mobile members of the band treat their audience as a boundary that has to be tested. For singer Marissa Majick, we are like the hedges at Hampton Court maze, darting in, out and around, disappearing for some time then crawling out between some legs.
For guitarist Yacob and saxophonist Misha we are more the rubber coating on their Bedlam bedroom, hurling themselves backwards into the watching collective as if oblivious to the hefty instruments they’re twirling about.
For twenty minutes they unleash a kind of Melt Banana meets Black Flag stop/start hardcore aligned with When Big Joan Sets Up bath-tub-down-a-hill jazz chaos, and then down tools, possibly as an act of mercy. No Babies create a twitchy angst funk, an utterly beastly racket twinned with a rather invigorating noise.
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