NAAM and a supporting cast of futuristic groove leviathans serve up a wealth of rhythms and noise at Blade Factory, Getintothis’ Laurie Cheeseman is by equal turns transported to the muddy river banks of Seattle and the decadent warehouses of Andy Warhol.
The testosterone is palpable for tonight’s Beyond The Wall of Sleep show.
And there’s a rather bizarre juxtaposition to proceedings unfolding next door, where scantily clad Latino ladies hip-shake to samba rhythms as Brazilica Festival launches inside Camp & Furnace.
Back in Blade and the white-wash workmanlike vibes clash with cascading lighting and something of a rather select audience, as Big Naturals‘ (delayed) set the feeling of one of those super-cool, super-secret shows like Sonic Youth described playing circa 1982 in the hardcore bible Our Band Could Be Your Life.
Tracks merge into another, with intermittent breakdowns serving as a prelude to yet more volcanic drones in a manner of which Amon Düül II would have been proud of.
A near-hour long psych-blues jam consisting of little but drums and bass could have been the most conceited contrivance on the planet yet the band’s passion for dynamism and improvisation makes for something special.
Big Naturals live at Blade Factory, Liverpool
Entering a stage soaked in pulsating trippy visuals, Mind Mountains‘ squalling intense drone ramps up the intensity stakes with every nook and cranny filled with noise, glorious noise.
Continuing the fine work started by Big Naturals beforehand, the Liverpool juggernaut dive headlong into a deep bluesy freakout-festival. The band’s interweaving rhythms slowly ratchet up the intensity underlining what a tight band they’ve become over the last 18 months.
Each member appears in tune with each other’s noisy whims giving the appearance (if not necessarily the form) of complete improvisation; something akin to MC5 – minus their radical rhetoric – or a jazz band covering Bad Brains.
Mind Mountain live at Blade Factory, Liverpool
Then came the time to kick out the jams as Brooklyn’s NAAM entered the fray.
Despite very much looking the part of the era they’re aping (early 70s Birmingham, if the flared bearded bassist and the moustachioed aviators-after-dark drummer are anything to go by), they contrastingly sound very much 80s Seattle – frenetic rhythm section struggling to climb out of the muddy banks of Puget Sound, buried beneath a sludgy riffing tide emerging from the Green River.
This proves to be a delectable flipside to the current glut of New York contemporaries parading avant black metal much to the delight of certain quarters of industry press.
However, the band’s earthier ambition also allows their set to be made up of actual songs which sadly allow the band time to make gratuitous small talk between songs rather detracting from the swampy jams on offer earlier in the evening.
NAAM live at Blade Factory, Liverpool
Strange for a band so keen on noodling lead guitar, their finest moment arrives near the close of their set when the band strip things back lending a desert like groove that Nick Cave would be proud of.
By the evening’s close, and coupled with the pulsating visuals, it feels like this evening was less a gig, and more a nightmarish happening straight out of the Plastic Exploding Inevitable; another genuine event in Liverpool’s prevailing musical renaissance.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tom Adam.
Further reading on Getintothis
Behind The Wall Of Sleep: The faceless spaceheads of Liverpool.
Blade Factory: Cutting edge sounds from Liverpool’s white room.