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DEMDIKE STARE + THE MICHAEL FLOWER BAND + REJECTIONS, February 1st 2014st @ Shipley, Kirkgate Centre


Gigs out in the sticks? It’ll never work. Oh, hang on….Anyway, this one sold out in advance weeks ago. It looks like it’s time to start sticking it to the city centres and taking good music to good venues rather than overpriced sweat boxes. Golden Cabinet have delivered consistently exciting line-ups to the small town of Shipley. This was my first chance to get over (thanks to a driving friend, cheers Al!) and see what’s going on.

First impressions are good. Whilst only holding 100, the Kirkgate Centre manages to feel big but isn’t too much of a squash nor too empty. Kind of ingenious, that. The P.A. system is absolutely mighty and so is the lighting. It hits you right from the opening act Rejections who conveniently starts as soon as we have got our drinks. Its just one man working his technology but when this is presented to you with starkly hallucinogenic projections and a mighty throb of bass, it becomes a religious experience and like most of the crowd, I find myself almost dancing to the beat-less sound because of the intense low end. Rejections makes a dark electronic sound with a lot of bass but no beats. Kind of like experimental drum ‘n’ bass but without the drum.

After that impressive opening, things suddenly went totally analogue for Michael Flower, ably assisted by his Vibracathedral Orchestra colleague Adam Davenport. They turn their backs to us in the dim light and work out an engrossing set of guitar drones where early Velvet Underground intersects Indian ragas ecstatically. It provides an intriguing counterpoint and an enjoyable bridge between the dark digital sounds of Rejections and Demdike.

Demdike Stare aptly play in the dark with strange, delirious projections over them and the wall behind. Golden Cabinet’s impressive sound system lets the bass do its business in a way that home listening never achieves (unless you’ve a very expensive hi-fi and incredibly understanding neighbours). It literally vibrates your innards. Their music already had a fair degree of low-frequency bombast, coupled with an eerie blend of classic avant garde electronics and vintage horror aesthetics, so the sound and lighting set-up just gives it that extra kick. The audience tonight were an intriguing mix of clubbers, lovers of dark music and experimental music fans but when Demdike Stare start dropping the beats, everyone moves. Maybe some of us beardy experimental fans move with less grace but we still have just as much of a good time.

Its was a hell of night with a hell of a line up and a hell of a venue.