It takes all kinds of devotion to head into the 13th Note’s dingy basement venue at the best of times, but when the Sun is splitting the trees outside and temperatures begin to touch 20°C only true musical worshippers need apply. At just £5, this 11 band all day event was more than value for money with the Cave ov Lights people offering up a veritable feast of doomy delights, nascent noise and devastating drone-rock.
Edinburgh-trio Parallax Scrolls (pictured above) hit the stage first powering though a succinct set that had notes of Hovercraft, Sonic Youth and a touch of No Age. It was decent fayre too, with an edge of dissonance combining well with the angular chords structures and forceful drums. One-man wrecking-crew Guanoman swiftly followed bringing with him a brand new long-form track. His purposefully over-blown doom prog, with over-driven riffs and scathing solos played over a backing track also went down well.
13th Rung (below) provided some warmth with their swirling mass of tranquil ambient guitar sounds. This duo impressed me quite a bit, reminding of the more introspective parts of Mono, while an understated ominous edge building beneath the melancholic guitar and effects added tension and was a nice touch. I was pleased to be handed a beautifully packaged handmade CD-r from this duo and I’ll hopefully review it soon.
Nacht Und Lebel (Night and Fog apparently) entered the fray with an array of pedals and effects units and set about trying to deafen those in attendance with a barrage of noxious, vitriolic noise, screeching static and colliding sounds. Space Victim were next to inflict some serious damage on our ears with a punishing set consisting of one long-form drone created by bass and guitar, with this girl and guy combo using an e-bow over severely distorted guitar. There’s not a lot of info on the web about this two-piece, but they both cropped up later in a couple of other bands.
The Cosmic Dead (below) were the main reason I was in attendance and delivered accordingly with the set of the night in my opinion. Glasgow finally has a band to rival what’s going on over the other side of the Atlantic (Cave, Oneida, Pontiak etc) and I reckon these guys could hold their own in any company. A juggernauting, cathartic set as heavy as a rhino, with this quartet motoring through four tracks purposefully setting the controls for the heart of the sun — their drummer on particularly phenomenal form (a trick he would re-produce later in the evening). Worth the admission fee alone.
A late addition of Skullwind’s guitar and acidic vocals performance paved the way for a seriously ultra-violent set from Mancunian trio C.S.B (Cryptic Salve Band). After 15 years of gig-going experience, I like to think I’ve seen it all, but even in my battle-hardened state nothing could have prepared me from C.S.B’s extreme assault on the senses. Their frontman spent most of the time in crowd barging into people, screaming into faces and at one point even knocked a poor bystander to the floor and proceeded to wrestle with him, which was somehow taken in good form. I don’t really know where to start with these guys to be honest, perhaps a bit of Raging Speedhorn or Eyehategod in their vicious sound. One thing is for sure, I’ve never seen anything like it.
Geordie troupe Obey restored a bit of order, at least on the violence side. A collective featuring members of Space Victim, Skullwind and Masterslave, introduced yet more powerful, acerbic sludge gathering the biggest crowd of the day in the process. Dundee trio The Wildhouse came next, changing things up a little with a sound that reminded of Magik Markers or ‘Sister’-era Sonic Youth. It was still plenty noisy and there were some interesting guitar sounds emanating from the soundsystem amidst the driving drums. Incidentally, I also picked up a CD of theirs.
Which left Masterslave (below) to close proceedings with The Cosmic Dead’s brilliant percussionist joining the guitarist from Skullwind and the bassist from Obey midway through a mind-melting improvised drone, powering the band towards an epic, loud as hell finale, which left my ears with a ringing sound that I can still hear vague hints of, even as I re-cap the events for this blog.