Vanity Project

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Teeth of the Sea vs. Wire + Verity Susman @ Dalston Café OTO

?????????????????????????Teeth of the Sea vs. Wire, Verity Susman
Dalston Café OTO.

Verity Susman wanders onto the stage, wearing wide-eyes and a gigantic false moustache, looking like Yosser Hughes asking to be ‘giz’ a job as the support act. Having been ‘gizzen’ the work, Verity swiftly proves that she can indeed ‘do that’.

She arrives, pins on a sax and proceeds to speak through it like a pining whale, kissing the tip before turning her attention to the bank of diminutive synths and numerous effects pedals which form the basis of her sonic collection, whilst behind her Jack Barraclough’s bespoke, psychedelic visuals illustrate her stories. Susman’s central underpinning is the disembodied voice of Siri reading the Seven of Nine-based lesbian fantasy Sustenance by Tenderware, which cycles in and out of her work, decontextualized and detached, but like an old friend returning with each appearance.

Verity has tunes, but in her live set they become part of a larger whole, a PVA glue collage of bits taken from sci-fi slash fiction, avant-jazz, kosmische music and snippets of vibe from her previous work with Electrelane. The swirling, increasingly claustrophobic fairground sounds of The Phillip Glass Ceiling and the looped, estranged choral twinkle of To Make You Afraid are particular highlights.

Teeth of the Sea are similarly nuanced, but come at things with much more muscle. They are a four piece, but do the work of many more, with some members often playing two instruments at once (Matt Colegate on bass/drums and Jimmy Martin on guitar/synths being two multi-tasking types). They have the billowing maelstrom element of psyche-prog without really being it. They have the heavy duty, chest-barging aspect of hardcore and avant-noise without really being either of those.

?????????????????????????Their music comes as long-but-not-outstaying-their-welcome instrumental pieces, and where there is bellowing, it is off-mic, a marker of the energy; breakers of sound swelling and colliding. A trumpet appears at points, often in the more reflective passages, a Gabriel-esque trump of doom indicating imminent attack and change. Alternatively, if a turn to the Biblical isn’t your thing, they could easily be soundtracking a pub fight on Neptune.

If all this wasn’t triumphant enough, they are joined for the encore by Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey of post-punk veterans Wire. This gig is part of a four night run of show curated by Wire and they appear here having sped from the Lexington where, earlier in the evening, they had performed with Toy, but in a support slot to the younger act. Their headline performance in this festive run will follow in twenty-two hours time.

After an awkward soundcheck in front of a shuffling, encroaching, excited audience here in the bijou confines of a packed Café OTO, Teeth of the Sea and Wire come together for a twenty-minute version of the latter’s track Drill. It is a Drill so powerful as to put the earth’s core in jeopardy, spinning and piercing incessantly and feverishly until Colin Newman raises his hands to ask “If this is not an exercise, could this be a drill?” It is, and an astonishing one.

Graham Lewis goes around kissing and hugging everyone, the grins on the faces, particularly, of the Teeth of the Sea members light up the room, and the cheering of the audience goes on. A superb finale to an excellent evening.

Video of the evening’s Drill performance here

March 25, 2013 - Posted by | new reviews | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] 7: Verity Susman. Queen Elizabeth Hall (June) Pretty much the same set as made the list last year but this was the fourth time I’d seen it since and here in a large room, the vocal loops filled the space beautifully. With the sax squawks at the start and the repetitive Siri-speaks-slash-fiction unafraid to test patience, it all builds to the topper twin-set of The Phillip Glass Ceiling and To Make You Afraid which simply blow the lid off. REVIEW OF CAFÉ OTO SET EARLIER IN 2013. […]

    Pingback by 2013: 25 gig salute « Vanity Project fanzine | December 30, 2013 | Reply

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