Tuesday, 24 June 2008

My Bloody Valentine - The Roundhouse, 23 June 2008

Hallo. I went to see My Bloody Valentine again and it was EVEN BETTER than on Friday.

A rearranged set-list, clearer sound. I can hear Kevin and Bilinda's vocals enough to recognise individual words tonight, whereas on Friday their voices drifted in and out of the fog, so you'd have to strain to identify them. Tonight I also get a great position in front of Kevin, one person back from the barrier, so I can peer at his pedals and marvel at his selection of guitars.

Best song of the set is 'Come In Alone', a majestic beast, storming in a stately manner. 'Sueisfine' is rendered almost unrecognisable again, rattled out as a hardcore thrash, complete with backdrop of irradiated blue skies full of fluffy white clouds whizzing by dementedly. ‘Soon’ expands into a repetitive beat drone dreamscape. I can clearly hear/feel (thanks to the blasts of warm sound-waves on my face) the way the sound is ratcheted up throughout the set. Bass kicked up monstrously for 'Slow', and up again to nearly unbearable levels for 'Feed Me With Your Kiss'. I scrunch my earplugs in deeper, preparing for the finale - the blasting away of time and space in the middle of 'You Made Me Realise'. It's like being strapped to the outside of a rocket on blast-off (I imagine). Shivering chaos. And then further noise gets piled in on top, deep, boneshaking. Its not just the awe-inspiring loudness, but the pressure of it effecting your whole body. I stand still and try to absorb it, watching Kevin tinkering with the sound. It's not just a testosterone fuelled noise mush, crazy shrieking frequencies blend in and out, now and then a pedal is tapped introducing or removing slices of noise. I start to hear ghost symphonies playing deep inside the maelstrom. Towards the end the frequencies creep upwards, creating the feeling of being plummeted back towards earth from outer space, tearing up the atmosphere. A sickening trajectory.

The back projection is showing a disorientating freefall of images – like a cross between falling out of an aeroplane and seeing your life flash before your eyes. Three quarters of the way through the twenty-two minute (we timed it, we nerds) aural assault the images cut to a black screen with slashes of white light strafing up and down horizontally. As each light beam passes over Kevin’s face, it reveals him watching the crowd through narrowed eyes, looking kind of evil, trying to figure if we deserve more punishment. Clearly we do, when the chords of the song finally fall back into place and we’re released from our suspended state to grab onto the tune like it’s a life raft, we find it’s a life raft adrift on a sea that’s aflame, the remainder of the song just discernible beneath an unearthly shriek. Horribly brilliant.

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