Quays News REVIEW: Transformer Festival at Victoria Warehouse
REVIEW: Transformer Festival at Victoria Warehouse
BY JAMES TICHBORNE ON
THE FIRST Transformer event featured some incredible bands. While there were quite a few across the two stages, Quays was lucky enough to be able to catch four of the sets from the evening.
To begin the night are This Is Not This Heat; a reformation of This Heat renamed as tribute to a fallen member. What a set to begin the night with. The amount of people playing on stage nearly reaches double figures and every single one of them packs so much energy into the set it’s hard not to be impressed.
The band can go from soothing lullabies to utterly deranged within seconds. Their unique brand of alternative, experimental post-punk is exactly what you’d expect from an evening like this, and even though it was still early I was left in complete shock by how genuinely exciting this show was. I’d go as far as to say the music is far better than it sounds on record.
Loop are not quite the follow up act they should have been. This was not to say this was bad set by any means, but their music can sometimes come across as tragically uninteresting.
Had this been the first act this would’ve seemed more appropriate, but following This Is Not This Heat was real shame. Still though, to give credit where credit is due, the band’s crowd interaction provides for some funny moments and they play a fairly solid set. It really fits with the mood of the night.
Cult heroes the Fall don’t include too many surprise but play a very strong set. This is a classic example of a band that has basically always been at the top of their game. Mark E Smith prowls the stages whining and smashing his mic into the keyboard and drums.
It’s definitely more of what you’ve come to expect of a band of this nature but that doesn’t mean it isn’t impressively well orchestrated. Each song they fluctuate between are as exciting and daring as ever, and prove than even in his older age, Smith has still got it.
When Swans finally emerge on the stage for their two hour behemoth of a set the crowd is tense. The band all face each other, Michael Gira’s back to the audience and begin to play. Within these two hours they manage to get through only five songs, but that’s Swans for you. The performance itself is less like your standard gig and more like an experience.
For a start, the music is so loud is almost deafening, and only gets worse. This is not a bad thing. It actually makes for one of the most intense and exciting shows possible.
They mainly stick to the newer stuff, however if they were too dabble into their older material it wouldn’t really make much sense. The band have been so varied over the course of the career that it would seem out of place for them to be playing any of the lo-fi harsh noise of the first few records.
Instead what we hear is the sound of on old band still at the top of their game, completely engaged in their set. Gira moved his arms like a conductor at the gates of hell perfectly synchronised with the music. The sound system feels as if it’s all around, dragging you further into the music. This really is one of the most absorbing sets I’ve ever seen.
The night in general was an excellent example of some of the more out-there artists at the moments. For life long fans, this was the perfect night. For those new to more avant garde styles of music, this was a perfect introduction.