Into the Pit: 039: Hypnoskull – Live at Club Phoenix, Manchester – 13-Apr 2007

It was held in the slightly pokey – and rather claustrophobic – upstairs floor of Club Phoenix, and in the main the volume was probably set about three or four notches too high – in other words it was reasonably uncomfortable. There wasn't an awful lot other than the live acts and the odd snippets of conversation due to the high volume, but no worries – that was more than good enough.

Noize:Tek Night
Club Phoenix, Manchester
13-Apr 2007

So of the live acts? Dyspraxia was first, and what a revelation. His output has come on in leaps and bounds, and takes in far more influences that just straight, pounding noise now. There are elements of breakcore and all kinds of samples, and everything flowed very well. My previous concerns around the release of Session 9 have happily proven unfounded, and future output could well be very interesting indeed if the live stuff is any indication of what to expect.

After a short break, it was time for the mighty Leech Woman to take the stage. I've been a fan of Leech Woman for years, and this was my first chance to see them since their appearance at Infest way back in 2001 (has it really been that long?!?). And despite the loss of the industrial percussionist – all beats were sequenced and sampled instead, there was no loss of power. In fact, with there now being two guitarists and Alex on bass, it perhaps increases the power yet more. They were simply pulverising – a dense, vicious wall of noise that assaulted all senses and made thinking straight difficult, never mind standing up or even bothering to talk to anyone. Highlights were old favourite Tool (with the instantly recognisable sample from Scum to open it as ever), and an astonishing – and wholly unexpected – take on Big Black's Kerosene to finish. Despite numerous technical problems, this is the most extreme – and loudest – live performance I have ever seen, and going by Leech Woman's reputation, never mind anyone else, that is some achievement. They only played for little more than half-an-hour, and I'm really not sure if I could physically have taken any more than that – it was notable that many others ran away for this set!

Funnily enough, everything else seemed rather quiet after that. Machinochrist had the dubious honour of following Leech Woman, and his mix of industrial, gabba, breakcore and some quite odd-sounding old-school rave samples for me was mildly diverting, but little else. I suspect that was because I was still struggling to concentrate – I need to check this guy out again to appreciate him properly.

Hypnoskull took a while to come onstage – he eventually appeared around about 0200 – and things are much changed from previous (the last time I saw this artist was again at Infest, back in 2003, where pounding rhythmic industrial noise was the order of the day). Gone is the previous sound, with yet more industrial-strength breakcore and rave samples taking it's place. Whether this is a good thing I couldn't work out. I think the problem was that while the old stuff was laced with humour and with the brutal beats as well, it certainly stood out from the crowd, the new stuff just sounds like everyone else who has been shoving breakcore at us recently. Yes, it is a bandwagon that is clearly rumbling on and doing pretty well, but is that it? Another interesting live act lost in the latest fashion…

It should be noted that the next Noizetek is on 08-June, and features the mighty Drumcorps.

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