Loop. Three nights of Loop. Three consecutive, ear bashing nights of Loop. 😀
Ear bashing night 1: Bristol Exchange
Bristol. The scene of past Loop disasters and past Loop triumphs.
I met fellow ‘enthusiast’ Dave in Bristol and we went for a nice cup of tea before the gig. Then we trolled along to The Exchange, running into Soundhead Martin and guitarist Dan in the pub.
Support for the night was by Salope (Gareth out of Anthroprophh, Big Naturals and Kuro), which consisted of a drone of electric cello and theramins. I rather liked this.
When Loop came onstage to their usual drone-intro, which is when I always get a bit excited, they launched straight into The Nail Will Burn. The set included several older tracks and two tracks from the most recent Array 1 ep, Precession and Aphelion but, alas, not the groovy Radial.
Collision sounded great and Arc Lite was spot on 😀 Ending on Burning World is a lovely way to go out too.
I’d say that this was a good solid Loop gig, very enjoyable and a great start to the weekend of Loop gigs.
Ear bashing night 2: London, Raw Power Festival
Baba Yaga’s Hut, one of the best London promoters, also presents one of the best London weekenders, Raw Power, now in its fourth year. At The Dome (Boston Arms) in Tufnell Park from Friday to Sunday evening various levels of psych heaviosity is hurled out onto an expectant audience. This year included some Loop heaviosity.
As is the way with me, I didn’t go for the whole day straight through. The Dome is not far from where I live so I can pop in and out. This time I popped in for Japanese New Music Festival (brilliant and hilarious), Qujaku (scary wailing), Cosmic Dead (very hairy) and, obviously, Loop. I think that Loop worked really well in the context of this event. They’re heavy enough to hold their own in the assembled line-up but also dancey enough for people who don’t really know them to just have a good old frug. The sound at the Dome was pretty well spot on so we were getting all the volume and distortion as it’s meant to sound without any mess or superfluous fuzz.
The audience was upbeat and totally went with the band on this journey into sound 😀 Robert was pretty jolly too so there was a nice level of banter: audience member, “play Fix to Fall”, Robert, ” we can’t play that. It’s too hard” and (while tuning his guitar) “I’m having trouble with my g-string” (how we laughed!).
The setlist was the same as in Bristol.
Ear bashing night 3: Manchester, Transformer Festival
Ooh, controversy. When The Victoria Warehouse announced the ‘too good to be true’ line-up which included Swans, The Fall, Royal Trux and, of course, Loop, the gig-hivemind drew in its collective breath and said, “smells like Barry Hogan”. Barry Hogan; he of a swathe of ATP triumphs and disasters. This assumed connection, together with a couple of, frankly, disastrous and heavily criticized events at the Victoria Warehouse seemed to really put people off buying tickets, despite the hilariously cheap price.
Sure enough, when we got to the venue it was nowhere near full. On the plus side, this made it a much more comfortable experience than friends of mine have had there in the past; no queues for the bar or loos, no crushes getting into the different rooms, plenty of space to just hang out with friends and we were able to actually see the bands. On the minus side, the lack of bodies may have contributed to the extremely echoey sound, rattling around inside this giant box. The Fall sounded (from the back of the main room) like they were playing in a tin can and Loop’s set was definitely affected by an eerie echo.
It sounded like they spent the first couple of songs battling valiantly with the sound onstage before giving up on subtlety and wacking everything up to 11. I think that Wayne (drums) in particular, was having to work extremely hard to hold it all together.
Nevertheless, Loop playing a ridiculously loud, ridiculously heavy set in a disused warehouse is a scenario that I can happily get behind and I enjoyed the gig enormously, despite the problems. And I wasn’t the only one. New best occasional pal Rob was seeing Loop for only the second time and responded with a level of joie de vivre that is to be applauded. He was giving out badges!
So, of the three nights, I enjoyed all of them but the London gig was the best. A great atmosphere, pretty heavy playing and excellent sound all worked together to make this the best one. Lots of Soundheads were out and about over the weekend so it was also nice to see people and catch up with them (you all know who you are. Thanks for being great company x).
And now I’m looking forward to Liverpool Psych Fest in September for some more Loop action.