Bleib Modern gave Sound Food and Drink one of the gigs of the year so far, such was their clinical goth punk which had Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody fully sold.
Berlin based Bleib Modern headlined this most intriguing of gigs.
We’ve seen Lonesaw before, but none of the other bands on the bill. But a bit of digging, and a listen to Bleib Modern’s most recent release, Antagonism, was enough to tell us this was a gig that promised a hell of a lot.
As we bought a beer in the bar before heading down into the basement the talk was this was one of the best bills put on at Sound for a while. There was a buzz around for this one. We were later to discover this was one of the best gigs put on anywhere this year.
Lonesaw challenge in more ways than one. They’re not an easy listen, by design.
On the other hand, they’re compelling to watch and there’s a kind of industrial noise thing going on, with keyboards programmed to pump out white noise to compete with the dischordant saxes on either side and the drums behind.
One track merges into another without pause as we get some Gormenghast style anti-symphony, or maybe there is only the one track. Who knows?
This has less to with rock music as we usually think of it and more to do with the experimentation of a cross between Einsturzende Neubauten and Schoenberg. You wonder at times if it’s all going to fall apart into chaos, which of course, is a special kind of skill because it does anything but that.
After half an hour, the band has made it’s point and the feedback signals the end of a superb set.
It’s been pointed out during the change over that pretty much the whole audience in Sound is wearing black, which sort sets a marker for the nature of tonight’s gig. So, too are Full House pretty much following the dress code as they take to the stage, but they do have an acoustic guitar in the line up, so maybe a sign of what to expect?
It’s more standard two guitar, bass, drums rock, but there’s a cool vibe coming out of the lead guitar that dances up and down the fret, eschewing the easy way out for some pretty complex tunes.
The first two songs have the band hitting the ground running, before they slow it down a touch for the thoughtful but powerful Love Song. This one, in particular gives Rob Rundle’s voice a chance to show he can handle a challenge. Blue Moon is a Radiohead-esque guitar assault that has the heads nodding in appreciation.
There’s a definite States-side feel to the set and we’d figure the band have a few Warren Zevon and Tom Petty records on the shelves at home. They pulled in a decent crowd who seemed well satisfied with what they got.
Bonus points too for sticking around for the rest of the gig.
Double Echo are also wearing black, including a leather jacket for the guitar player. It’s effect is offset a touch by keyboard player, Ellon’s white boots, but she too is otherwise black clad. It’s that kind of night.
Are we making too much of the sartorial choice of tonight’s bands? Possibly, but it’s as good a hook as any to give you a flavour of what’s standing in front of us.
There’s an energy coming off the stage, though, as well as a sense of a band trying to work different layers and textures into their rhythm. It’s not the madness of Lonesaw, but it’s not Radio 1 fodder either.
It’s intelligent and stimulating, beguiling music that draws you in. You aren’t quite sure where it’s going, but you need to stick around to find out. About half way through the set the band tells us that most of what we’re hearing is new. Fair enough, no complaints over here.
The Bleib Modern soundcheck melds into opening track Dust from the 2015 Vale of Tears LP and we’re pretty much sold straight away. Thumping, rolling drums and a psych feel guitar. This isn’t quite the noise punk we were led to believe we’d be getting. It’s smarter than that. The band is wearing mostly black though, as if you needed to be told.
If we weren’t looking at them with their short hair, DMs and trousers fashionably rolled up to their ankles, we’d be calling them a cross between The Mission and Fields of the Nephilim with a dose of, say, well any punk band, really. And that works just fine in our view. We love the dark goth style, but with just enough of a 21st century injection of rhythm and an up to date take on proceedings.
Dare we say, there’s a certain Germanic style to what we’re watching. It’s clinical, efficient and all just excellent. It was a pretty much greatest hits set with tracks from earlier albums All Is Fair In Love and War and Vale of Tears as well as a deuce from Antagonism, plus, we would think some new material.
Bleib Modern are one of the best bands you’ve never heard of.
But so too did the rest of the line up promise much and stepped up to plate to deliver a mighty fine supporting cast. It was also good to see the sense of collective going as, for the most part, the other bands stayed to watch the others, as did most of the audience.
Perhaps they too realised this gig for what it was – a quality line up that’s going to feature on our best of list at the end of the year, unless something pretty spectacular happens in the months to come.
Images by Getintothis’ John Middleton