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arabrot1The Dome and Boston Music Room, Tufnell Park, London, UK
29th February 2020
Chaos Theory Festival 2020 with Vodun, Gold, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Furia, Undersmile, Nought, Teeth of The Sea, Arabrot and Zu

The Chaos Theory 10 year anniversary festival kicked off at 12pm. The venue is located on the Islington / Camden border between Archway and Kentish town so finding your way there by bus or tube is fairly easy exercise to achieve. In fact, exercise is what I achieved because I walked from Holloway Road to the venue arriving at around 4:15 to see that a good crowd had put in the effort to witness another process of musical alchemy play itself out over 11 hours.

Diverse genres took it in turns to take to two stages with minimal hitches that made the whole event run as fluidly as humanly possible. The two stages were a two minute walk from each other down a flight of stairs and through a courtyard set aside for a food stall and smoking. If you didn’t fancy what was offered food wise then you had the option to leave the venue and go to the many shops, cafes and restaurants in the Tufnell Park area. 7pm was curfew time though, once you were in you stayed in until the end. The majority of the bands I’d not heard of before and I did not do much research beforehand. It was nice to experience a Festival virtually blind to the existence of the artists on show and discovering new music, not through the mediums of Spotify, YouTube, BandCamp or SoundCloud! Anyway, on to the bands...

impression settimesimpression afterparty


Vodun

The first band I saw was London based VODUN. They’ve been around since 2016 but the 25th of March sees the release of debut album ‘Possession’. There was a good crowd in to see them on the Dome stage! https://www.facebook.com/VODUNBAND/

Music & Performance
They were jazzy Prog Rock soul suffused with bright tribal African costumes that reminded me of AVATAR! Not really my cup of tea all this brightness but they sounded good. I had heard a few tracks online beforehand and they reminded me of OCEANS OF SLUMBER. The track I heard on was called ‘Rituals’. I quite liked it with its frenetic drumming, expressive guitars and Conga drumming that reminded me of Bobby Hall.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Light: 7
Sound: 8
Total: 7.5 / 10

vodun1


Gold

After a quick look at the merchandise store by the far wall, I left The Dome to walk the short distance down the stairs to The Boston Music Room where Dutch band GOLD was already in full flow. They consider themselves to be non-genre specific but if I had to put them in a box then it would be the Alt-Rock / Post-Punk box. They reminded me of SAVAGES crossed with EDITORS with that moody broody bass and drum foundation but with an interesting vocal style in the vein of GARMARNA or Maria Franz delivered by charismatic Milena Eva. https://www.facebook.com/thebandGOLD

gold1

Music & Performance
As I listen further my ears see THE SMASHING PUMPKINS and ALL ABOUT EVE coming out of the mists. Milena Eva stands at the microphone, hair pinned off the ears but flowing down the back of a long coat that has oversized black cuffs protruding at the wrists. She performs with a stone face that exudes an unforced and non-self-conscious charisma whilst all around her collaborators are rocking out in absorbed oblivion to what’s going on around. Or so it seemed. Of course they knew what was going on around them but the feeling I got was of a band that was totally into what they were playing and whatever or whoever was around them was bloated out in this transitory bubble of time. Definitely a band to explore further down the road methinks. And that exploration includes their first record, from 2012, called ‘Interbellum’ along with 2017s ‘Optimist’...

Rating
Music: 9
Performance:9
Light:8
Sound:8
Total:8.5 / 10

gold2


Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard

Next up to deflower my virgin ears was Wrexham based MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD. A Psychotropic dark doom laden outfit formed around 2015 that also had spacey and intergalactic elements. Consisting of “3 apes and an astral seraphim that generate colossal interstellar aria” this band released their third album of a trilogy called ‘Yn Ol Annwn’ last year sees the band delving deeper into space rock, film soundtracks, psychedelia, cosmic moogs and percussion. https://www.facebook.com/mammothweedwizardbastard/

mammothwizardweedbastard1

Music & Performance
I really liked them but I gave up on the photography after 12 shots due to it being too bloody dark for my lens and settings. When I moved from the stage area to the back of the venue I could barely see them play but never mind, I could lean against a wall and reminisce on those times when Acid / mushrooms and Hawkwind made for a great evening! I did chuckle to myself though when keyboard / vocalist Jessica Ball said “Thank you very much” in a cut glass girly voice, I don’t know why I found that funny, it just did.

Rating
Music:8
Performance:7
Light: 4
Sound: 8
Total: 6 / 10

mammothwizardweedbastard2


Furia

Next up are FURIA, a Black Metal band from Poland that’s also described as “NekroFolk”. They are not to be confused with any other bands with the same name hailing from Sweden, France, Spain or Finland. They formed in 2003 and the only bands I can liken them are Norwegian purveyors of dark soundscapes TAAKE, Sweden’s LIFELOVER and Czech band CULT OF FIRE. https://www.facebook.com/furiabandpoland

furia1

Music & Performance
There is something of the early years of Black Metal about them, the band play bare chested with corpse paint, they are raw, visceral, sinewy and wrapped in a layer matt Black Metal dripping moisture. The vocal is spat out like bloody tar and pitch, or in the words of Blix: Black as night, black as pitch, blacker than the foulest witch... Check out the 2016 album ‘Księżyc Milczy Luty’, I think it’s brilliant!

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

furia3


Undersmile

Moving on we have a female fronted sludge doom band from Oxford called UNDERSMILE. They’ve been around since 2009 and to date have released numerous EP’s and albums including their 2010s ‘A Sea Of Dead Snakes’ EP and I’m reminded of HOLE / BABES IN TOYLAND, and sludgy L7 and blonde VICTORIAN DOLLS. https://www.facebook.com/Undersmile

Music & Performance
The set was rather sombre and sleep inducing at times. Not a bad thing if I was at home wanting to listen to something that occupied my unwinding mind but not in The Dome whilst I’m trying to work. I felt my energy go down even though I’d had numerous strong coffees! Like a lot of bands they had a slide backdrop all black and white and misty. Quite doomy and gloomy this!

undersmile1

All that was missing was cobwebs and copious amounts of dust. Yeah, they’re better listened to whilst in bed because right now their capacity to induce sleep is equal to valerian root. As I write this I am watching a video on YouTube for their track ‘Milk’. Did you know dear reader that you can buy valerian root infused milk in well-known supermarkets for £3.90 a carton? Right now I’m  getting into it more than I did at the festival, lying on my bed with a glass of milk... The security guy who stood next to me at the venue wasn’t enjoying this much though, he paced around in an agitated state until the set ended. You can’t please them all though can you? Oh, and the set was dark, it was again challenging to get good photos without the use of flash. Once again, a projection behind the drummer being the only constant source of light which of course I had no interest in snapping constantly.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 5
Sound: 8
Total: 7 / 10

undersmile2


Nought

NOUGHT are a London based Psychedelic Jazz Prog Rock quartet which I quite liked. Not a band to look in regards to sartorial flair but a band to look at and listen to in regards to musical flair, especially guitarist James Sedwards who was a runner up in a National Guitar competition in the late 90’s due to his technique and creativity. He has also worked with the likes of THURSTON MOORE and ZODIAC MINDWARP. https://www.facebook.com/noughtmusic

nought1

Music & Performance
NOUGHT sounded like a band called RING from the 70s and 80s, very trippy but unlike the previous band that put me in the mood for dreamy sleep this band takes me on a journey through a waking dream, down paths and through groves and around bends like an Acid trip Alice who’d drunk mushroom tea on a table made of liquorice planks nailed together with the hairs of a caterpillar…

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 9
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

nought2


Teeth of The Sea

London band TEETH OF THE SEA formed in 2006 and they are described on BandCamp as one of the most adventurous psychedelic rock outfits in the UK. I’d describe them as “Technodelic Prog”. They have released five albums in that time, the first being ‘Orphaned By The Ocean’ in 2009 and the most recent being ‘Wraith’ released last year. https://www.facebook.com/teethofthesea/

Music & Performance
What we have here are laptops, mixing desks, guitars and brass instruments that  imbibe the mixture with a jazzy dressing. And again there is the obligatory psychedelic projection giving the eyes some candy to feast on whilst the MORRICONE, ENO, BUTTHOLE SURFER inspired trio do their thing on their tool of choice.

teethofthetea1

It was at this point in the day’s proceedings that I started to smell the whiff of unpleasant body odour, stale beer, monosodium glutamate and farts. TEETH OF THE SEA are being enjoyed by a knowing and appreciative crowd that I can see head bobbing and shoulder swaying around the well-attended set. One track that stood out was called ‘Hiraeth’; it was very spacey and trippy and there was enough here to perk my interest and explore more at home, but the smell overwhelmed my tolerance and I swiftly left for a lungful of fresh air…

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 7
Light: 4
Sound: 7
Total: 7 / 10

teethofthetea2


Arabrot

Norwegian outfit ARABROT played two sets today. The first one which I didn’t see was without drums or so I was informed. Kjetil Nernes and Karen Park are dressed in white. Karen’s dress is decorated with embroidery Anglaise whilst Kjetil’s head is bedecked with a “Boss Of The Plains” wild west frontier hat which from a distance makes him look like the letter T with a domed embellishment. The band formed in 2001 but it wasn’t until 2016 when a personal experience of Kjetil’s reinvigorated / reignites the creative spark to the point where the album ‘The Gospel’ was the result. Sound wise they’re like SWANS crossed with THE FALL crossed with the SEX PISTOLS. https://www.facebook.com/ARABROT

arabrot2arabrot3

Music & Performance
The sound is very abrasive and the stream of consciousness lyrical style exhales to the point where you are going to run out of breath before inhalation sets off on another breathy jaunt into the brains of the listener. The personal experience of Kjetil I mentioned does inform the urgency of the vocal style I feel and you can feel that spark in the delivery. Do you like SCHAMMASCH? If you liked The Malodour Chants then you’d check ARABROT out!

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10


Zu

ZU are from Italy and have been creating music since around 1995 but before that various members had been playing in other bands, one being called THE SINATRAS. It was around 1995 when Massimo Pupillo and Jacobo Battaglia were writing music for radio and theatre that the seeds of ZU started to sprout. Their sound, again like other bands on the bill, is Prog Rock sounding with saxophone and cerebral guitar noodles. https://www.facebook.com/vajrazu

zu1

Music & Performance
Throughout the set a psychedelic backdrop is displayed behind but other than that the set is dark making photography difficult unless you use a fast lens or flash. Personally I prefer not to use flash because it ruins depth and atmosphere within the scene, but hey ho... ZU were interesting but to borrow words from a comment I saw on YouTube I say this: I spent the whole set trying to decide whether or not I liked them and as I write I’ve still not decided. What I do know is that by the time ZU took to the stage I was well and truly shattered! Seven hours of live music was enough for me. What I did for those seven hours was flit between the stages without a break for food / drink or loo, and I did not leave the confines of the venue to get a change of scenery either which I would have done if it was an outdoor event. When ZU left the stage I went down to the Boston Music Room for an hour to experience the after show which was taken care of by TOWARDS COLLAPSE and then I went home, towards collapse…

zu2


Bands I missed at this 10 year anniversary included: VaSA, MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS, MAI MAI MAI, Yorkshire Black Metal band ANTE INFERNO and the psychedelic layers of LUSHWORKER. I’m sure these bands will cross my path in the future, if you dear reader want some reportage on their sets then there are many music magazines and blogs out there that will complete, embellish or reimagine what has put down here... To sum up, this was a good day of music and a successful one for Chaos Theory. Chaos Theory has the knack for putting on a diverse group of act in an order that seems to work. The Chaos works. Like a group of wizard DJ’s knowing what people want and in what order it needs to be presented. I’ll be back in 10 years to see where things are at then!

All pictures by Claudia Black
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