Teeth Of The Sea spearheaded a triumphant night of noise, mystery and danger. Getintothis’ Joseph Viney came armed with a sense of trepidation.
Teeth Of The Sea (ToTS) are very much at the top of their game. Their new LP is an absolute monster, their live shows have had incredible reports across the board and the Kazimier, set out like a shadow of some end-of-the-world circus top, is perhaps the perfect venue for them.
…and yet the turnout tonight is so viciously low, that not only can you hear a proverbial pin drop prior to the start of Thought Forms’ set, but you can hear Esben & The Witch’s vocalist ask the exact same question we are: ‘Where is everybody?‘
It’s a real shame and a marked disappointment for those who did make it out, and certainly for those playing. Something similar occurred a few months ago when D/R/U/G/S came to the same venue. It was a fantastic show regardless, but how artist and audience were hoping for few more bodies in there.
Thought Forms at the Kazimier, Liverpool
It’s not strictly our place to comment on the hows and whys of a low turnout (well, it kind of is… but we’re not going through this now) so let’s keep it real simple. Let’s start with honesty (it is supposedly the best policy, after all): the first few minutes of Thought Forms‘ performance doesn’t seem to bode well for the rest of the night.
Deej Dhariwal (vocals/guitar) spends a bit of time on his knees, making an odd kind of bleating noise which seems to go on and on. A few sideways glances between people are shared. There is of course the right to self-expression and the multi-faceted highway of ‘art’, but this seems a little too much.
Well, more fool us for not exercising enough patience, because from almost out of nowhere Thought Forms wrench themselves out of the mire and decide to spend the next 25 minutes fucking with your brain. If it wasn’t the crunching death drone that rattled your bones, then the whipcrack Sonic Youth-esque numbers that patterned their set will have got you.
Having been together nearly a decade and with a slot on the last ever ATP on the horizon, there might be some halycon days on the way for Thought Forms.
Esben and the Witch at the Kazimier, Liverpool
Esben and the Witch take hold of the baton and continue in fine form. Their work is a case study of entrancing quiet/loud dynamics, eerily-crooned vocals and when it’s deemed necessary, some real rolling thunder from the bass.
Vocalist Rachel Davies is small in stature but has a real knack of commandeering the space afforded to her on stage and with the whole group bathed in a cool blue light, theirs is a very ethereal presence. Playing a selection from 2012 LP Wash The Sins Not Only The Face, Esben and the Witch weave a captivating spell over their audience.
Teeth Of The Sea at the Kazimier, Liverpool
Teeth Of The Sea can certainly be deemed as having one of the more inventive names in music and to label their high energy, pulsing songs as simply ‘dance rock’ does them something of a disservice. Without wishing to seem either insulting or patronising, watching Teeth Of The Sea lined up on stage can invoke a little game of ‘which celebrity does each band member look like?’
On drums, Napoleon Dynamite’s brother (Matt Colegate – maybe a bit…). Guitar and keys are occupied by Rutger Hauer (Jimmy Martin), Vinny Samways (Sam Barton) takes bass and trumpet duties while their bemasked sound manipulator looks like the bizarro brother of either of Daft Punk (Mike Bourne).
And while they may make for an amusing lookalike guessing game, they seriously sound like few others. The apocalyptic thud of Reaper (from the recently released and presciently named MASTER LP) sees standing percussionist Matt Colegate give the toms the battering of their lives, while Black Strategy emerges from an electrical hailstorm before surging into a King Crimson-infused death-disco power jam before the relentless warning siren that constitutes A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. (from 2010’s Your Mercury) delivers the riff of the evening.
Teeth Of The Sea are evidently studious and well-practised but they’re not without a sense of mischief. Guitarist Jimmy Martin is absolutely on fire, his high kicks, reckless energy and downright wilful abuse of his own safety lead him atop the high stack speakers. It’s one of those ‘heart in mouth’ moments, and all of a sudden we’re picturing a hastily abandoned show and the wail of an ambulance speeding to the venue. No such horror was on the cards tonight, and it was never going to be.
They close with the multi-episodic Responder: part industrial dissonance, part abyss-like Bladerunner sci-fi epic, part hulking rhythmic slab funk and part Morricone-assisted desolate trumpet drone. It lightly toasts your outer being for a full seven minutes before Barton’s triumphant brass unites with Colegate’s beatdown and culminates in something from a Trojan Odyssey. It’s a quite astonishing finale.
Teeth Of The Sea deal in the best kind of organised chaos, and by the time the four of them stand in line, doling out quasi-military salutes to a crowd now bunched together tightly at the front, you just want to be inducted into their strange and dangerous world.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tomas Adam.
Further reading on Getintothis:
Teeth of the Sea named in Getintothis‘ top 10 gigs of 2012.
Teeth Of The Sea: The Ritz, Manchester
Esben & The Witch, Teeth of the Sea, Anna Lena & The Orchids: The Kazimier, Liverpool
Behind The Wall Of Sleep: The faceless spaceheads of Liverpool