Within the opening chord shred of Adebisi Shank‘s first song, it occurred to State that we were going to need some earplugs quick stat. Blaring out of a double stack Marshall amp were the kind of sounds made to confuse parents and fragile folk. The guitarist Lar from Adebisi plays his instrument like he’s trying to make it do something else other than be a guitar, so he combines rock riffage and frantically hammered notes through a pedal which shapeshifts the sound into an amalgamation of whizzing 8-bit noise, a looping effect and traditional guitar sounds. It sounds like the instrument is squalling to be let go but ultimately enjoys the sado-masochism of the whole process while Vinny (adorned in a red mask with no eyeholes) and Mick the drummer keeps time to all the madness around him. The band play a relaxed and rejuvenated set with some new songs sounding like proper robot rock jams.
Then to the night’s touring band, Ponytail (we missed first band Jogging) who last played the same venue in September of 2008, are on the last date of their tour. All eyes are immediately drawn to the diminuitive boyish-faced singer Molly Siegel whose face contortions and tribal fluttering dances are the highlight of the night. As one guy behind us (rather loudly so she might have heard) positively exclaims with incredulity how she ever got past second rehearsal while another girl near the front with a bemused look on her face probably shares a similar sentiment.
Siegel is so enraptured in the sound emanating behind her – two guitars, pounding garage drums, no bass, that it matters little that there are no words coming out of her mouth just joyous primal screams. After all, you’ve got to admire a woman who favours bird calls over acknowledging anyone else’s presence. It’s a refreshing and unrestricted way to be and the band’s primary (school) colour of rock sounds is the perfect enabler.
The best material is drawn from their recent Ice Cream Spiritual album with ‘Beg Waves’ and ‘Celebrate The Body Electric’ the perfect bone-crunching rock songs to lose your shit to (including drumsticks which were broken at least three times). This is music which is utterly nonsensical but to attach any other meaning to it other than the happiness derived from the kinetic guitars and Siegel’s exalted state would be to miss the point entirely.
Photos by Loreana Rushe.