Monday 6 April 2009

Chrome Hoof / Cluster - 21 March 2009, Rich Mix Centre

Hmm, this isn’t the usual schmindie scene down the Buff bar. We’re at a um, Throwback! loft party. Near Brick Lane’s happenin’ Brick Lane, which means there are people here JUST BECAUSE it’s near Brick Lane. Luckily, the place isn’t just full of mongy disco kidz in eighties clobber, the audience is a mix of clubby types lookin’ to lose their shit to James Holden’s set later on, demented ‘Hoooof!’ shouting fans and faces familiar from Sonic Cathedral and Kosmische clubnights.

The latter are here because ye olde Krautrockers Cluster are playing. The rather groovy Throwback! idea is to have a band of original sonic envelope pushers doing their thing, i.e. Cluster, and then to have a nowtimes band showing off how they may have learnt a thing or too from those oldtimers i.e. Chrome Hoof.

Are Cluster playing now? Oh yes, onstage Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius are absorbed in their sonic scientist work, pressing buttons and stuff, their physical presence obliterated by the backdrop film projected over them. As the bleeps and ticks of sound blend and swoosh, your eye is drawn to the backdrop – a locked down shot of a big stone house on a blustery Spring day. Every now and then the trees swish their branches in the breeze. It’s a soothing view. Twenty minutes of sound ebbs and flows, and then, look! a man has come out of the house and is pottering about!! Oh he’s gone again.

I’m listening carefully, trying to pick my way along the melancholy electronic trail being laid by Cluster, but my concentration keeps being broken by an endless stream of party kids making their way to the front looking for some action. It’s quite entertaining to watch them get there, clock the scene – which consists of two elderly geezers busying themselves behind tables of equipment – and then flounce off again.

Things liven up when Cluster are joined by Chrome Hoof (there’s not really anything that wouldn’t be livened up by Chrome Hoof joining it, is there?) A big gongggg is beaten. Monster riffage and murderous drumbeats slice in and crank everything up several gears. A Cluster/Hoof mashup ensues. It’s the best bit of the set and ends sadly soon.

Green lasers rebound from sequins’ metallic shiver. Silvery alien gimps gyrate. A terrifying ten foot tall silvery ram-monster-god has processed into the crowd and is declaiming about "being addicted to failure" and the like. This isn't the ram-monster of past Chrome Hoof events. This is a futuristic terror, a thing of sleek shiney curves, including limbs that end in, yes, a chrome hooves. Aieee!

The ram-monster, having made its point to the befuddled clubsters, takes its stately leave. The music kicks back in. We go bonkers. It’s the techno you can head-bang to. It’s the heavy metal you can rave to. It’s the jazz-skronk you can boogaloo to. It’s the disco you can art-funk to. It is the nightmare pantomime of Chrome Hoof and the greatest show in town. Move your body to the beat. NOW, WEAKLINGS!