Live review: Brain Burner Presents: Messiah Complex, Cop Porn, UG!, The Radiation Line, Hivver at The Liquid Ship 27/3/11

The basement of The Liquid Ship is a small space to host a gig. On arrival I am greeted by a group of people who look spookily like philosophy students staring at a longhaired, bearded man setting up a mixing board. His task complete, and with no prior announcement, he blasts our ears with noise and sends the event on its way.

 

Messiah Complex, who the bearded man forms 50% of, play one piece consisting of constantly modulating and very loud distorted noise. Occasional incomprehensible, ominous-sounding vocals are provided by the other, less hairy, half of the band as he sits cross-legged on the floor. The band provide a dramatic enough opening and set up what is to come nicely.

Cop Porn are up next, John B McKenna’s ‘secret punk band’, and immediately deviate from the template by playing a melody. Their first number starts with a touch of punk before drifting off into slightly underdeveloped experimentation. The initial melody of their opening track shows definite promise but sadly it’s the most engaging moment of their set, still, it’s early days.

UG! bring the gig back towards noise with a drift into spacey ambient distortion made all the more subtle by the fact that they play with their backs to the audience. Gentle percussion and an electric recorder add texture before the band punch home some massively loud distortion followed by rhythmic bursts of white noise. There is more light and shade and genuine drama to UG!’s set than to any other during the night.

As UG! pack away into poly bags and The Radiation Line set up, a door in the back wall opens to reveal a chest freezer made all the more sinister by the number of beards in the audience.  A red light illuminates the band’s guitarist as he lays down a wall of noise, his eyes closed in apparent rapture. The keyboardist punctuates this with the odd ‘pew pew’ effect. They end with a recording of the singer repeatedly crying “mummy”. Sadly their set tonight isn’t up to the standard of their recorded output, although the “mummy” cries get some laughs.

Rounding off the evening is Hivver, who looks very much like a young Willie Rushton. Hivver starts off with swirling programmed synth noise, carefully adding texture with his guitar as he goes along. During his twenty minute set he constantly modulates the music via his mixing board, his brow furrowed in concentration. The result is a relaxing melancholic piece that holds the attention of the audience throughout.

An excellent end to an evening that is well worth taking the time to experience. Brain Burner returns the same time in a fortnight for sadly the last time at The Liquid Ship but we do hope they find a new venue soon.

Words: Andrew Chamberlain

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