Supersonic Festival 2010 - Saturday - The Custard Factory, Birmingham
Supersonic Festival has reached its eighth year in 2010 and continues to be a unique and enjoyable highlight in the festival calendar. However this year it has moved from a relatively sunny weekend in July to grey and drizzly October. Despite this, Capsule have assembled a fantastic line-up that takes in extreme metal, electronica, folk - and the plain bizarre.
Taking place once more in the well suited complex that is The Custard Factory in Birmingham, this scribe heads over to the Space 2 stage to check out doom-drone duo Eagle Twin. Featuring legendary Iceburn guitarist Gentry Densley, the guitar/drums duo play through a selection of tracks from their debut The Unkindness of Crows. Densley’s guitar-playing is fascinating in the least, sounding as though he’s playing both lead and bass parts at the same time while Tyler Smith beats the living shit out of his drumkit, with each strike shaking the ground beneath them. These guys set the quality bar high for the rest of the weekend.
Over at the Old Library, Lichens (aka Rob Lowe of Om, 90 Day Men) packs out the cavernous room with his serene and throbbing ambient electronica. Sitting solitary on the stage he sends waves of blissful noise throughout the crowd. In contrast to this, back over in Space 2 Gnaw make a truly evil racket. Featuring the terrifying vocals of Alan Dubin from Khanate, their Sunn O)))-meets-Merzbow assault is pretty brutal.
The first trip of the day to the Outside Stage yields the looping, multi-instrumentalism of Dosh. Recreating his studio set-up on stage, he’s surrounded by a selection of different instruments which he builds up and breaks down to great effect. Playing tracks like ‘Subtractions’ from his most recent album Tommy, his talent with a looping pedal becomes apparent as each sound intertwines with one another. The DJ set from Cloaks however is an oppressive and violently beat-driven beast. Playing their industrial-tinged dub-step in the dark hangar-like room that is Space 2 is quite a sight, as hundreds of people go ape-shit for the dark sounds on offer.
Keeping with the industrial theme, Kevin Martin (The Bug) appears live under his King Midas Sound guise, helped by vocalist Roger Robinson. Crafting a more ghostly sound than his other projects, this still features some massive sounding beats and tracks like ‘Earth A Kill Ya’ see a sense of dread fill the room. King Midas Sound seem to be a revelation of the day for many, and rightly so.
Kevin Martin’s previous partner in crime Justin Broadrick reunited the legendary industrial metallers Godflesh earlier this year, and tonight’s headline slot is only their second show since. Alongside bassist Benny Green, the pair cast an imposing shadow on stage as their razor-sharp guitar riffs and pummelling drum machine keep a torrent of noise spewing forth into the audience. While at first sounding a little flat and quiet, they swiftly pick up during the second half of the set, and Streetcleaner cuts like ‘Christbait Rising’ and ‘Spite’ sound splendidly torturous.
Supersonic Festival once again comes up trumps in its celebration of forward-thinking and exciting music from both legendary acts and newbies alike. And we haven’t even gotten to Sunday yet.