Sumac/Baptists/Endon – Manchester The Deaf Institute, 18/03/19 (Live Review)

Sumac Baptists Endon Manchester Deaf Institute

Tonight’s line up features a lot of innovative and exciting extreme music, and I greatly encourage you to check our any of these bands live should you get the opportunity to.

I’ve never been to The Deaf Institute before, but it had a good atmosphere and all the bands tonight benefit from a solid, balanced mix. I’ll definitely look to come back here in the future if I can.

Endon

Endon 1

Endon’s latest album Boy Meets Girl is a lethally unhinged slice of experimental noise-infused hardcore mayhem, and I have been genuinely looking forward to seeing how on Earth they were going to transport this intensity to the live environment. It turns out, quite well indeed. It also turns out that the Endon we get on record is not truly representative of the Endon that we get live. Live, everything is turned up to the max in the best of possible ways. Tonight Endon sound arguably more powerful and impressive than they do on record, and I’m hugely entertained for the entirety of their set.

Endon’s wall of sound is covered in razor wire and unexpected traps, hand-fashioned for extra bespoke nastiness. Endon sound somehow more three-dimensional and tactile live, like you could almost reach out and touch the aural chaos that they unleash. The songs sound alive and vital; breathing, in a very fleshed-out way that’s almost tangible.

Endon 2

I really, really enjoyed this. The crowd seem quite appreciative too. The band play for 40 minutes, and there’s not a single dull moment to be had. Sounding huge, menacing, dangerous, and exciting, Endon’s set tonight is a tremendous example of violent, innovative punk art.

Baptists

Baptists 1

I really like Baptists. Bloodmines was pretty dang good, but last year’s Beacon of Faith was a very well-rounded album that has grown on me more and more since I first reviewed it. If I had to do my year end list all over again for 2018 then Beacon of Faith would definitely be on it, and well-placed.

Whereas Endon had a very busy stage, with lots of arcane equipment and five people creamed into a relatively small space, Baptists are stripped back and raw, with the four-piece only having the standard instruments to hide behind. Well, I say hide, but they don’t seem shy at all. They benefit from a loose, punk feel to their presence, which is backed up by prime violent hardcore muscle.

Playing a mix of tracks from all three of their albums, (and debut EP), the band’s musical assault is relatively straightforward and simple after Endon’s layered, noise-enhanced carnage, but this is not meant in any detrimental way to Baptists; this is pure, furious punk swagger and hardcore attitude, and very well-received it is too.

Baptists 2

The singer is all nervous energy and acidic vitriol, alongside a very personable charisma and likeability. The rest of the band aren’t too far off this either, and their performance tonight is very enjoyable. While an issue with the drums is sorted out the singer humorously berates the crowd for being too quiet and not moving. So, when the band launch into the next song, we finally see the first dance floor action of the evening. The ice was unceremoniously shattered. I also like that during the last song the singer jumps into the crowd and single-handedly starts the busiest pit of the night.

I was really looking forward to seeing Baptists tonight, and I’ll definitely be catching them again in the future if I can. Top stuff.

Sumac

Sumac 1

I am unsure of whether the show is sold out tonight or not, but it certainly feels like it, especially as it gets closer and closer to the time for Sumac to take the stage. After the largely high-speed intensity of the first two bands, we now move on to something a little different in character, although no less intense.

Due to the fact that the drummer of Baptists is also the drummer of Sumac, he’s a busy guy tonight. It’s not as if he held back during Baptists’ set either. The man’s a machine. The other two Sumac band members aren’t found lacking, however. The bassist is a solid anchor in the whirlwind of sound that is produced, and the guitarist/singer’s roars seem to have only become more forbidding since his days fronting Isis. His presence on stage is tangible. Like the rest of the band, I like how much he is obviously investing of himself into the music.

At various times Sumac’s output is intricate, heavy, improvised, and enormous; this is as good a way as any to describe Sumac’s music. I’m only familiar with their latest album Love in Shadow, but tonight it doesn’t matter as not only are all three pieces aired from it, but the band’s immense songs are truly immersive and captivating.

They open with a total wave of percussion, distortion, and chest-pounding bass. Very quickly the Sumac live experience becomes hypnotising and quite engrossing. Whether playing fast and crazy, or slow and restrained, outward-facing chaos, or introverted reflection, Sumac’s performance is a carefully balanced mix of preformed structure enhanced with experimental, impulsive, exploratory jams. The band members are very in tune with each other, so what could conceivably sound messy and disorganised in lesser hands comes across as an effective and well-realised exploration of sound and form.

Sumac 2

Parts of the material seems to roll like thunder, moving the crowd with hypnotic inevitability and an intensity that’s of a different nature to the two bands that preceded Sumac, but that’s vibrant and compelling in its own way. Other parts experiment with noise and abrasive sounds, with jagged, stand-offish effects, before a more welcoming aspect of the music brings everyone back into the fold. Well, welcoming to those who worship this kind of sonic workout, of course. Other parts still are more ambient and tentative in nature, providing a calm moment to ponder and reflect. Others are simply heavy. Very heavy; when necessary, the band are not even remotely afraid to tear out the big riffs. Sumac’s sound is diverse and wide-ranging, but everything they do hits the spot quite firmly.

I find Sumac to be utterly absorbing and quite transportive in nature; it’s easy to forget where you are and just get lost in the droning soundscapes. Sumac have exceeded my expectations tonight, and their set is a triumph, albeit not a complete one – the evening came to an abrupt end due to broken equipment, so we never got to experience the band’s intended closing song, but after roughly an hour of Sumac’s highly captivating live ritual, it’s not the end of the world.

All the bands tonight have been hideously enjoyable and satisfying, all the more so because they each achieved this in their own, individual ways.

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