Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Words and Guitar

Two bands this (extended) weekend have made an impression: one new, one not so new.

The new would be Collapsed Toilet Vietnam. Something of a noise music supergroup - featuring members of Whitehorse, Grey Daturas, True Radical Miracle and various others - they've come together to create experimental grind that actually inspires awe (as opposed to just being awesome). The loudest band I've seen in a long time, they punctuate their songs with feedback sirens and one-string bass crunches. It's a wall of sound assault, in a way that somehow reminds me of a grind version of Public Enemy. I fucking love it when noise musicians turn their hands to other genres, as their tendency to experiment always adds an uncertain dimension to the sound, while at the same time removing the meandering, unstructured pretension that plagues straight-up noise acts. CTV brings the expertise of four of Melbourne's most established noise musicians together, and you seriously have to get your ass down to one of their ten minute sets. Make sure you're on time.

The not-so-new would be Schifosi, who have been around long enough to be considered crust scene stalwarts, but who haven't played a show in fucking ages. They played at the benefit for A World Without Sexual Assault at Irene's Warehouse. After seeing Majorca, eating some free (and delicious) Food Not Bombs, then fucking off to the East Brunswick Club for the four hours until Schifosi played, we all packed into the small mud-and-hay room, anticipating a great deal. And we weren't fucking disappointed. At one point during the show Ross turned to me and asked, "When did Schifosi turn into Iron Maiden?" and while he may have been exaggerating slightly, he has a point. They're much more epic than I remember, crashing, pausing, then diving into songs.

I've tried to write about these moments so many times, both in my journals and in my zine, and each time I've fallen disappointingly short. But I'll give it a go here anyway, despite not really wanting to tumble headlong into livejournal-esque emoting. While watching Schifosi I get one of those incredibly rare moments where nothing else seems to exist, where your focus is only on the one thing. It's these fleeting seconds of clarity that keep me coming to shows, that I chase and chase and chase, in whatever form I can find. It's not often that all the noise, the clatter, the machinery of everyday life disappears into the background, but today, watching Schifosi, surrounded by some of the people I love most in the entire world, with a belly full of lemonade and free vegan food, sweating and nodding my head and making unfunny comments between songs, it happens.

And really, that's all I need to say.

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