CLEAR AND REFRESHING
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Elevation / Tacobonds  venue: 20000V  place: Koenji date: November 23rd (Tue)


Barirubronco are splitting up after this gig, which is a right royal shame with bells on, because they're great. Pure and simple boy/girl rock and roll with just bass, drums, and sweaty rock shaman vocals. They thunder along with menacing sexuality and raw Stooges power until they're joined by Kawada and Matsuoka from Elevation for a blistering final assault on the audience's ears.

The brilliantly named Drive To The Forest In A Japanese Car (why does it have to be a Japanese car? Why does it have to be a forest? Is a copse or a wood not good enough?) are an interesting proposition as well. Their angular, moog-twiddling post-punk has the right idea and a lot of the right moves, and it all comes together really well in the last song when they let the drummer go all Neu! on us and the vocalists start their tag-team screaming.

Spearmen take a long time to get going, but that's because they're playing with us. They draw out the introduction to their first song, teasing us with drum fills that build up to nothing, slowly adding guitars until finally it comes and it's as heavy as... I don't know, let's say as heavy as a fridge. A big fridge. One that's been stocked up really tightly with provisions for Christmas. Oh, and it's made of lead. For the rest of the set that's what they're like: really fucking heavy like a fridge and really fucking loud like someone delivering a skip.

Tacobonds step up next, with a circular formation, bass-driven repetitiveness, and screeching feedback kind of thing that recalls a fair bit of recent 20000V visitors Nisennenmondai. Nevertheless, Tacobonds use the extra guitar to create a fuller, less bleak and sparse sound, and they expunge all the playing around with samples and replace it with shouting, almost like in normal songs. Again, it's interesting stuff and it's at the end that it really takes off most spectacularly, combining avant-garde noise with simple, honest rock and roll thrills whilst doing irrepairable damage to already seriously weakened eardrums.

Tonight's curators, Elevation, don't do tunes and melody. They do angles. On every track they play tonight the bass draws lines, the guitars sharpen the edges, and the vocals stab at your eyes. There's a debt to the seventies' New York scene here, with elements of Television in both the name and the bass player's cheekbones. Oh, and the music, yeah. There's also something of Teenage Jesus & The Jerks in the way the eminently watchable Ms. Koide judders and screeches around the stage, but - and this is perhaps as much testiment to the enduring relevance of Ms. Lunch's legacy as it is to Elevation's undoubtedly ace music - they never sound less than modern and nothing they produce is in any way out of time and place in 2004's Tokyo. - Ian Martin, Nov.28.04.

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