Michael Gira + Devendra Banhart, Bush Hall
Time Out London | by Sophie Harris
Live reviewPeople vomited when they say Michael Giraâ€™s Swans play live in the mid â€˜80s.. With droning washes of guitar, the NYC industrial punk pioneers set out to make the loudest noise possible; so loud, in fact, that it tended to vibrate the audience membersâ€™ internal organs (one TO staffer has a friend whoâ€™s deaf in one ear to this day as a result). Fuck.
And while Giraâ€™s latest project Angels of Light deals in gauzy, fragile melodies and whispers â€“ check new release â€˜Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Homeâ€™ (Young God) â€“ the aaargh-youâ€™re-fucking-with-my-mind aesthetic persists. Thankfully. The whispers and chimes on tracks like â€˜Palisadesâ€™ soothe and lure you into the land of doze, only to build to a hypnotic, mind-monging climax of hummed noise.
Less enervating, and certainly more delightful, is Giraâ€™s Young God Records protÃ©gÃ© Devendra Banhart, who supports tonight. This feral, sinewy creature from Brooklyn released his debut LP â€˜O Me O Myâ€¦â€™ earlier this year, and crafts deliciously black folkish songs that recall Lewis Carrollâ€™s â€˜Jabberwockyâ€™ as much as they do Banhartâ€™s beloved Greenwich village singing muse Karen Dalton. Songs like â€˜Michigan Stateâ€™ lace fondant soft melodies with scrappy whistles and Banhartâ€™s longing yowl of a voice. Itâ€™s brittle, enchanting and scissor-sharp.
But while Banhart snarls, itâ€™s Gira whoâ€™ll bite. Neither are tame, both are intoxicating. Just donâ€™t sit too near.