Tuesday, 30 November 2010 09:47
Intense young women, elaborately goateed blokes sporting the odd cap, old gents who might otherwise be out walking the dog or tucking into a real ale by a roaring fire, yes, they were all out in force last night despite the tube strike and the inevitably described "Arctic" conditions even ahead of today’s snow for The Thing.
The who? You might well ask as the fearsome trio of Swede Mats Gustafsson and Norwegians Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love hadn’t played the UK in years but word had seeped out. The Vortex’s Oliver Weindling even had his decibel meter to hand, quietly amused following a blistering soundcheck that bled out on to the deserted square behind dark, blank blinds. But to the delighted faithful later on the sonic blitzing of Dalston could have been a lullaby.
Fresh from playing with the daddy of the galeforce blast, Peter Brötzmann himself, a few nights before, Gustafsson laughed like a drain later in his dressing room at the suggestion that he had in the course of the extraordinary performance "shed a skin". But nonetheless the band who Gustafsson earlier told the frankly shellshocked but enthralled audience had in a daring move all dispensed with the same t shirts they had been wearing for years in favour of shiny new apparel, just as well as they were all glazed in sweat such was the sheer physicality of their performance. Nilssen-Love’s multi-directional style hammered out on hard-as-nails-sounding Paiste cymbals rooted deep within the soundworld of the late Rashied Ali, coupled compellingly with the throbbing deeply infectious bass lines from Håker Flaten, simply tore up the room as Gustafsson’s mile-wide embouchure ate up their rhythms particularly as he wielded the baritone sax.
A quite remarkable, outstanding gig, full of sound, fury, tenderness and just what the doctor ordered you suspect for the intense looking girls and the blokes who’ll have to walk Fido another night. They all came out in force and listened hard, a case if ever there was one of being in the right place at the right time as the thrill was definitely the thing.
- Stephen Graham