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Holy Fuck @ Electric Ballroom, Camden – 15/11/10

November 18, 2010

Originally posted on The 405

Venue: Electric Ballroom, Camden, London
Date: 15/11/10
Link: Holy Fuck music

Bloody hell Monday-the-15th-of-November. Broken Social Scene/Tortoise just down the road at Koko. Warpaint just up the road at Camden Barfly. Holders of Album of 2010 (according to yourselves) Baths with Becoming Real as support a few tube stops away at CAMP. And, er… Paramore at O2. Cough. It’s like Borges’ The Library of Babel, what is a Londoner and music aficionado to do? Why, go and see Holy Fuck at Electric Ballroom of course; and anyone who chose this path, as fine as the others no doubt were, will have been stupendously delighted with this choice.

It’s always fascinating how artists who use such heavy gadget electronic experimentation such as Holy fuck deal with live performances; many interviews you find of bands face this potential dilemma of how to recreate ‘studio’ antics to fit a live setting. This is simply not a problem for Toronto-based Holy fuck who are remarkably similar to their albums, but with so much more resonance and energy in a live setting.

Opener from latest album ‘Latin’, ‘1MD’, opens the night and acts almost as a call-to-arms if you will as the slow building noise envelopes and eases in the milieu of Electric Ballroom. The breathless and pacey ‘Super Inuit’ follows and launches the gig with a sense of urgency, urgency pulsating and jitterbugging through its sonic veins.

Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh were the original members of HF, but have been given added spice to boost their live sound with the addition of bassist Matt “Punchy” McQuaid and live drums from Matt Schulz. No laptops are use by Borcherdt and Walsh and thus no pre-programmed beats, loops or other tricks feature, this is live from coast-to-coast stuff people.

It’s often low-tech in proceedings, a mélange of leftfield gadgets, pedals, toy keyboards and the like are of prominence, as the two face each other on stage stood behind their tables of junk. Of most interest is their 35mm film synchronizer that is threaded with film reel and garnished with pick-ups, as Borcherdt deftly yanks back and forth to create some brilliant effects akin to that of a turntablist, as noted in penultimate track ‘SHT MTN’.

Most of the evening features material from ‘Latin’, though this is mixed healthily with the ‘Holy fuck LP’ and other tracks (‘Jungle’ for example); and they consistently flow seamlessly and occasionally bleed and overlap into each other. The electronic, almost techno infused ethos manages to get even the notorious stagnant London crowd dancing, much needed on a bitter Monday night. Smiles all round.

‘Stay Lits’ and ‘P.I.G.S’ make for a great double-header midway through; the subtle foreboding and grandioise nature of ‘Stay Lit’ is offset immediately by the more invigorating and electronically aggressive ‘P.I.G.S’. ‘Red Lights’ is joyful psychedelic funk, and as with most tracks is elongated and stretched out with positive ravey results. See also: Factory Floor, Fuck Buttons, but without the menacing introspection.

‘SHT MTN’ starts the encore as huge favorite and the positively euphoric ‘Lovely Allen’ ends the night on super terms, as the duality of rock and dance charm the kinetic crowd. Broken Social What? Who Paint? For everyone present so much fun is had, it’s difficult enough to remember what language you speak and underpants colour, lest alone any other gigs activity.

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