VENUS FLY TRAP + MARABAR CAVES + GESTALT + FAMILY OF NOISE
February 18th 2022
Maybe my ears are becoming attuned to their modus operandi, but Corby’s FAMILY OF NOISE seem to be getting better and better with every performance. They’re distinctly post-punk but with a progressive edge (in its purest definition) insofar as they have their eyes set firmly on the future, rather than celebrating a mythical past. With an earth-shaking bass rumble providing driving force and a guitarist sculpting sound they’re a pleasing tension of opposites who get the evening off to a lively start.
Hailing from L.A. (that’s the Leicester Area!) GESTALT are a band who really capture the current zeitgeist. Like Killing Joke their songs capture a sense of urban desolation and alienation and, as with the Joke, their full-on sonic assault is just right for these uncertain times. They hit the ground running and by second track ‘Situation’ they’re firmly in the groove. A spinning top rotating faster and faster is ‘Circus Town’ and, powered by a drummer who is intent on nailing his kit to the floor, makes for an intense experience. There really should be more keyboards in punk rock, and it certainly give Gestalt a unique edge by adding a touch of litheness to their bass heavy sound. Closer ‘Physical Mass’ wraps a serious message in a catchy tune and ensures Gestalt hit the sweet spot.
Taking their name from the novel “A Passage To India” and originally formed in 1982 (from the ashes of Yellow Umbrella, who in turn were birthed from original ‘77 punks Great British Hope) the members of the MARABAR CAVES have decades of experience playing live and certainly know how to fire up a crowd. In fact, they seem tailor made for a boozy Friday night and hit the stage like a group of whirling dervishes. ‘Watching The Wheels Go Round’ finds this Northants quartet getting a bit funky while ‘Trouble’ swings with a bad attitude and throws a few deft punches while a blistering cover of The Damned’s ‘Neat Neat Neat’ is a definite highlight.
You get the feeling that Northampton’s very own darkwave duo VENUS FLY TRAP have been chomping at the bit during the pandemic enforced live hiatus and, opening with their 1988 single ‘Morphine’, you can almost feel their palpable relief at being on stage again. The sound desk briefly crashes causing a delay to ‘Sabotage’ while the musical car crash that is ‘James Dean’ follows and causes all sorts of carnage. Vocalist Alex Novak dances like an android and throws some faux karate moves during ‘Vitesse’ while guitarist Andy Denton, perhaps attesting to his previous incarnation as a drummer, delivers his chunky riffs with metronomic precision. The band once described their sound as “Bladerunner sci-fi rock n’ roll mixed with acidic cinematic visions” and that’s a pretty apt description as Venus Fly Trap’s set has something of a mescaline trip about it, especially as they perform to a backdrop that projects classic sci-fi film “Barbarella”. Two choice covers close their set on both of which they put their unique and indelible stamp. Firstly Suicide’s ‘Rocket USA’ is made more direct and (dare I say) musical before Venus Fly Trap capture The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’ in their carnivorous jaws.