Sunday, 1 March 2009

Spectrum – 27 February 2009, Sonic Cathedral at The Dome

Last summer we were cruelly tantalised by two Spectrum shows which promised to be amazing had equipment problems not cruelly eaten into set time and cut the band off in their prime. Tonight we get our reward. Spectrum are gobsmackingly fabulous. There are no problems, indeed the sound here in The Dome (where one thousand years of indie discos are engrained into the school-hall-tastic fabric of the room) is dashed excellent.

Sonic Boom looks pretty much the same as ever – the same as last year, the same as ten years ago, the same as the Spacemen 3 years – boyish, skeletal. He is the lightning rod at the centre of an electrical storm, calmly conducting the ebb and flow of noise from behind a keyboard and guitar. The songs build and burst into beautiful chaos -all meticulously controlled – no fret-board wankery here, the band drilled in the pureness of repetition driven by relentless drums.

K, D and I form a grand (old) ladies of drone-rock cabal in the corner – like the old ladies who sit in their special corner of a pub – seen it all before, but still game for some hair shaking.

Spectrum’s set is chock full of crowd pleasing ‘hits’ – all sounding MIGHTY. ‘How You Satisfy Me’ is less farfisa jaunty than on record and more borehole to your brain ferocious, ‘Transparent Radiation’ utterly luxuriant. ‘When Tomorrow Hits’ booms doomily, a narco thunderclap. Of course the set ends with ‘Revolution’, drawn out and teasing, before finally kicking into that angry white out of scrubbed guitar strings. And then there's an encore. A twenty minute encore of 'Suicide'. A pummelling, heart-seizing 'Suicide'. Half-way through the song, its machinery set to his satisfaction, Sonic strolls off to collect his 'special guests' MGMT. They seem a bit terrified. One of them (I don't what MGMT's names are do I?) is given a drum mallet which he uses to tickle a cymbal in a hilariously mimsy manner. The other is guided to the keyboard where Sonic, an avuncular sorcerer to a shaggy haired apprentice, shows him how to twiddle knobs, set phasers to stun, etc.

We bask in the fearsome squall eating up the entire room and inveigling our senses. It's heavenly. And Kevin Shields is nearby looking on. Just like the old days, eh? I said JUST LIKE THE OLD DAYS. Yes.

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