Getting down to a spacey night of atmospheric Chilean krautrock, Getintothis‘ David Hall descended the stairs to The Magnet.
In eight years of releasing music, Santiago trio Föllakzoid have been quietly innovating, and stretching their compositions with each passing release. Their Merseyside set saw them dispatch three spiny, malnourished missives at a curfew-ended show that left the crowd desperate for more.
First however, Bonnacons of Doom held the Liverpool audience in their ritualistic thrall. Last year’s split EP with Goat marked the scouse six-piece as the experimental pagan noise merchants to watch, and they only confirmed their merits once more at The Magnet.
Vocalist Kate Smith cut an almost stygian Little Red Riding Hood figure in the band’s uniform black robes onstage, which cast Bonnacons somewhere in between Sunn O))) and Cocteau Twins if they had been possessed by some malevolent demonic force. They seethed with theatricality in their clamorous haunted forest of noise featuring screeched, chanted, primal vocals, motorik bass and gales of guitar squall. The audience were rapt.
Föllakzoid’s latest release The London Sessions saw the group joining forces with J Spaceman of psych specialists Spiritualized and Spacemen 3 to newly arrange material lifted from Föllakzoid’s III, performed live in a London studio. III itself is a wafting slab of krautrock, hypnotically repetitious, a thrumming atmosphere coaxing the listener into its weird world. Whether such an immersive experience would translate into the band’s live show was anybody’s guess.
The Magnet meanwhile is the sort of basement venue more accustomed to an explosive punk band blowing the roof off the place, and less used to a psych trio setting up a righteous groove and riding it over the horizon. It was an interesting dynamic, but the intimate setting strangely suited the widescreen sound that Föllakzoid conjured.
Brandishing an array of whackjob dance moves and amid onstage near-darkness, the band set out with a sparse, evil, bassy groove in the mean, sun bleached gallop of Electric. Repetitive ultra-delayed and looped guitar clicks characterise their live sound, acting as a central motif permeating the droning krautrock bass textures and spaghetti western drumming. Stripped of III‘s Kraftwerk-derived synth textures, their live sound is harsh, self-flagellatingly intense and unflinching.
That was proved by the sheets of buzzing guitar noise peppering the second track’s minimalist bass groove, until third and finally came the tumbling drums and peeled guitar riff of Earth. The three-piece built to an explosive crescendo with their finale, setting out their template perfectly and executing it ruthlessly over just a handful of tracks. Sure, we would have loved another one or two, but always leave your audience wanting more and all that.
The only real misstep that Föllakzoid made came when guitarist Domingo Garcia-Huidobro called out the wrong city between numbers. So all that’s left to do is to thank them for coming all the way from Calama, and hope they return soon.
Photos by Getintothis’ Brian Sayle