Mugstar, The Bendal Interlude, Stignoise, DJ Gwalrus: Drop the Dumbells, Liverpool


Mugstar and friends said goodbye to Drop The Dumbells in typically chaotic fashion, Getintothis’ Mark Greenwood held on for dear life.

Slater Street has a celebratory vibe tonight as Getintothis loiters in the doorway of Drop the Dumbells.
DJ Gwalrus pumps ska and reggae into the autumnal air from a smart sound system while Saturday night revelers pass by with a mixture of bemusement and intrigue.
Sadly, the venue has been condemned due to structural damage and the assembled masses are here to ensure it secures legendary status in Liverpool after hosting of a series of memorable art and music events.
Stignoise are the first band to swing a sonic wrecking ball with a maelstrom of cut-up discord, spring-heeled percussion and frenetic improvisation.
Layers of noise unfold, revealing a set of loose yet detailed musical jigsaws, executed by dextrous technicians on an eclectic range of instruments and objects.
Stig himself is a frightening bandleader, frantically orchestrating bizarre musical shapes peppered with Eastern rhythms, demonic strings and brazen brass.
We’re reminded of early Zappa here with hints of Fantomas and a.P.a.t.t, yet a prevailing lo-fi aesthetic and D.I.Y sensibility ensure that Stignoise remain inimitable.
There’s a very good crowd tonight and a sense of hedonism despite the imminent closure of Dumbells.
The Bavarian lager is flowing well as we anticipate a second stage of demolition.
Mugstar brought other-wordly noise to Drop The Dumbells, Liverpool
Mugstar roll into the space like an intergalactic tank, indiscriminately pounding the audience with a barrage of driving psychedelia in a haze of angular guitars and minimalist chanting.
The Mugstar machine is well-oiled and consistent, smoothly shifting gears as it smashes through alien terrains and altered dimensions.
Mugstar wear their hearts on their sleeves, unashamedly shrugging off obvious comparisons.
However, it is their latent post-punk sensibility that separates the space rockers from many of their peers, loyally demonstrated in prime selections from an extensive back catalogue.
Numbers such as Black Fountain and Technical Knowledge as a Weapon draw vociferous approval from the Dumbell’s crowd and it’s assuring to see the band adeptly performing in such an intimate context.
The heavy artillery eases for a short while, but it’s not too long before The Bendal Interlude attack a demi-derelict Dumbell’s with the subtlety of a flying mallet.
Bendal’s unholy mix of hardcore thrash, sludge and doom quickly transforms the space into a scene from Dante’s Inferno, the band resembling a monstrous Leviathan fuelled on Buckfast.
Punters are swallowed up and regurgitated into a convulsive pit of thrashing limbs and gnashing teeth.
There’s a purity and honesty about Bendal’s aggression, channelled into tight grooves of precise, heavy riffage, remarkable vocals and a vicious battery of growling bass and thunderous percussion.
The band shows off a load of new material tonight and we can’t wait for the new record if this pummelling performance is anything to go by.
So there we are…another zone of temporary autonomy bites the dust, stamped upon by an uncaring and unforgiving state.
However, we’re hopeful and confident that the innovative souls who put together such an affective venue as Drop the Dumbells, astutely balanced on the blurred lines between art and music, will re-emerge elsewhere in the city in the near future.
We’re crossing our fingers.

Further reading on Getintothis:
GIT Award 2012: Artist nominee profile – Mugstar.
White Hills, Mugstar, Plank!: Blade Factory, Camp and Furnace: Liverpool
Damo Suzuki, Mugstar, Canteloupe, Mind Mountain: The Kazimier, Liverpool
Wet Nuns, The Bendal Interlude, Stereo Virgins: The Shipping Forecast