Having missed Concrete Lung’s support slot with Combichrist the previous night, I was tipped off that the band were playing under the name of FLESH WASTER at The Unicorn. So, post-work booze session completed, and on the way to a birthday bash in Walthamstow, I diverted via Camden to catch the show.
It has been a while since I last saw Concrete Lung live, too. In fact, I think the last time that I did was before the release of their debut album, and since then, there have been changes. The band is back to a two-piece, and if the recent 7″ release of Die Dreaming is anything to go by, a return to their earlier, less experimental – and much more direct – sound has been made.
This show was also an interesting test, as from what I could tell they were on a metal bill, rather than their more usual industrial bill, meaning that they were going to be playing to a crowd that may not be entirely familiar with where they were coming from. Not that any quarter was really given, as the thirty-minute set was brutal under any measure. The electronics and beats come as a backing track, mind, but that never stopped Godflesh and it doesn’t stop Concrete Lung either. Savage guitars and rumbling basslines help underpin the sound, and unleash it with such force that it was no wonder that there was a gap in front of the crowd that they wouldn’t dare breach. It was likely that the sound was pushing them back.
Concrete Lung setlist
Breathe In The Monochrome
Suicide High Rise
Pylon Kingdom (Part I)
The return of the sound to their earlier material was also reflected in the set, with only two songs from full-length album Visions of Hell – admittedly the two-minute jet-engine blast of Suicide High Rise being a fantastic highlight – concentrating instead on songs from their debut EP and their latest release. Newer song Die Dreaming, that opened things, had me reconsidering my opinion that it was the weaker of the two songs on the recent 7″, while the bruising maelstrom that heralded Breathe In The Monochrome reminded me exactly why I was so taken with this band in the first place.
Oh yes. And as the final assault of the industrial stamp-in-the-face that is Destructive finally stoppped ringing in my ears, I had cause to reflect that Concrete Lung stand alone in London, at least, being the one industrial-influenced band around in the UK at the moment who truly couldn’t give two shits about the dancefloor, or about being fashionable. They are making music that reflects their locale, and frankly, their music reflects the times in this country for many, as large swathes of the population are denied support and/or simply excluded from the debate over any future direction. This is music for those who see no future, a rage against the dying light of hope. Here is hoping for more slabs of industrial heaviness from these guys sometime soon.