Digital, 22 May 2010
Canadian quartet Holy Fuck have been causing quite a stir in recent months, after taking the reins as the showcasing artist at SXSW back in March, they are on their spring/summer tour and joined us by the sea after partying with the scouses at the Sound City festival. People here tonight don’t seem to know all that much about the band, but what they do know is that they want to see them. Asking somebody for their favourite song prompts this response from Phil; “I don’t know, it’s all so instrumental that it blends together.” Whether this is a good or a bad thing remains to be seen.
Phantom are the first support band, a drummer and guitarist-slash-singer clad in a zipped up leather jacket (isn’t he a bit hot?). Made up of distorted vocals and at one point a ‘90’s half step drum kick that sounds almost like an Ibiza chill out album. The crashing drums are great but the effects pedal, rather than adding weight, seems more a prop that may as well be a third member. Multi-tasking is never easy. On the balcony are a few people settled on the sofa, backs to the band, with their heads on the vibrating glass, lazily looking out to sea. “The sound system almost feels like a massage,” a happy punter informs me. Phantom are slowly beginning to warm the floor downstairs as people are drawn by an invisible string toward the stage.
Holy Fuck are not a band for interacting with the crowd. Effects minister Brian Borcherdt has a microphone so small he can almost swallow it, and nearly does, gannet-like in his hunger. Talking to the crowd doesn’t matter because the songs are well-crafted beauties, sponges dripping with influences from disco, experimental rock, drums like croaking reptiles.
Using a retro film tape to distort the sound, Borcherdt’s tattoo jumps from side to side as his forearm clenches in concentration, accuracy is key. Nodding heads are abundant, but for some reason, even by the well-known “Lovely Allan”, people are moving around but not quite letting go. They play mix of old material and new for over an hour. In many ways the venue is too small, but it helps to see what’s going on, especially with the variety of instruments on offer.
“We’ve got seven minutes to kill, that song was like eight minutes long, so…” states Borchedt. The last track is the best where they really go mad, yelps and shouts from the microphone, smiles all round. “It’s 10.28.” they state before promptly leaving. Make way, Holy Fuck will need a bigger stage.
What did you think of the gig?
Seph: “Sounded like a bus crash in a Casio store, which is to say, brilliant. Obviously.”
Jess: “I’d definitely see them again.”
Chantal: “They had a lot of energy, I think the crowd would have been more up for it if the gig had been on later.”
Jez: “It’s telepathic music, hypnotic. Nice to see the band all smiling as well. A wash of sound, joyous.”
Words by Lizzie Simner
Photography by Jeng Lohachal