Ben Frost @ Thekla, Bristol, 11/11/14

Style: "70's look"Given Thekla’s harsh acoustics and metallic build, it’s easy to be sceptical about how tonight’s performance will sound. Ben Frost has been working in the realms of ambient and noise for the past decade, but it’s this year’s A U R O R A – an album so densely textured, confrontational and loud – that will surely have the boat crumbling to its core.

Arriving early, Stereocilia graces the stage to a cosy crowd. His performance eases us into the night, a sprawling soundscape of warm drones, Explosions in the Sky-esque guitar melodies and hazy psychedelia to fall into, comparable to fellow small-time ambient purveyor Finglebone or the guitar-oriented works of Aidan Baker.

From blissful ambience to groove-inducing electro-punk, Y CVn makes for an unexpected support act to follow. Through punchy synth lines and infectious drumming, they come across like a glorious hybrid of Death From Above 1979 and Factory Floor; a very strong showing from a Bristol-based group who only got together last year.

We’re barely given a moment’s silence as Ben Frost begins setting up. He stands amongst a table of sequencers, electronic guitar and laptop while drummer Greg Fox (of Liturgy) prepares his kit alongside him. “No Sorrowing” kicks off proceedings, a pure shot of expansive drone that, to our delight, sounds marvellous in the Thekla after all. And as the intensity builds with “Sola Fide”, Fox hammers away at his drums and the music truly transcends into awe-inspiring territory. The rhythms he lays over Frost’s violent electronics are beautifully expressive, loose and unpredictable; what we’re left with is a powerhouse of emotion, tension and force.

Standout moments include the cycling beat of “Venter”, the deeply disturbing “The Carpathians” taken from By the Throat, and A U R O R A highlight “Nolan” that closes the set with a euphoric peak unparalleled by its studio release. As both Frost and Fox take a bow, we walk away light-headed, our legs trembling. Quite simply, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a live show as intense as this.

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  1. Stereocilla ::: Alice in the Cities « Loophole Berlin - 15/09/2015

    […]  “A sprawling soundscape of warm drones” – Live Review. Drunken Werewolf November 2014 […]

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