Terminal Cheesecake and Blown Out @Magasin4, Brussels BE – 30 March 2017
Blown Out’s history goes a bit back than my knowledge of them which exists only from 2016 and their appearance on a compilation released by Drone Rock Records and significantly named Magnetic North. The 12” vinyl features, besides this Newcastle fine trio, tracks by Dead Sea Apes from Manchester, vert:x from Chester and Earthling Society from Fleetwood.
When the guitarist Mike Vest’ creativity demanded to break free, he found ways to form a band influenced by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Okhami No Jikan and Skullflower. Blown Out proved to be an incredibly prolific band in a short period of time, with more than 20 releases from 2014 onwards, counting only those available on Bandcamp. The heritage brought by Mike Vest’s team mates, John-Michael Hedley (bass) and Matt Baty (drums), resulted in referencing Blown Out as a band as made up from members of BONG, Drunk In Hell, Haikai No Ku, 11Paranoias, Khunnt and pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs.
Their live set sounds impressively close to a continuous jam and that is not only due to the music style they’re playing. Despite the improvised nature of their sound, the composition and work behind is obviously huge. Mike Vest is an alchemist always absorbed by his guitar, not only aiming to purify, mature, and perfect the psychedelic sound, but succeeding in producing noise gems and releasing them all over the venue. The rhythmic section creates hypnotic effects on which the guitar brings a layer distinctive at first but melting progressively into a massive resonance sustained even more by thunderous drumming. No matter if the songs start with some few bass chords or a series of classic drum rhythms, they become heavy psych pieces standing as proof of what can be accomplished when a mastermind aims for heavy, intense, sonic journey and brings enough freedom of expression and passion into it.
How could anyone not be curious about a band named Terminal Cheesecake… Formed in 1988, they took their name from a list of fictional sixties bands written by the Bevis Frond’s Nick Saloman. They ceased activity in 1995 and reunited in 2013 with Neil Francis from Gnod as vocalist and released first a live album (Cheese Brain Fondue) and then their first studio recording in more than 20 years, Dandelion Sauce of the Ancients in 2016. Mentioning such band history might not be that sexy in a music scene full of new and talented groups, but it’s worth doing for Terminal Cheesecake if only to point out that despite their wonderful past, they are not here just as one of those band reunions seeking again attention, even if they are completely entitled to the best nowadays awareness.
The first impression of them on stage was a bizarre one as they seemed to collect the noise from the air with their finger and bringing it over on their instruments in a mystic attempt to start a sonic attack. It didn’t take long until the first piece broke out in force. At this show, I rediscovered the idea of music collective and sound sculpture, Terminal Cheesecake being the kind of band where the band members look at each other while playing, to synchronies their parts. The sound is result of a joint effort more than just band sections concurrence, in an endless jamming and repetitive lyrics and loop recordings to match the heavy madness going on stage. The improvised chair on which Neil Francis set his sonic headquarter contributed to that feeling as well, the space sound and the psychedelic jam of huge proportions being in tandem with the moments of screaming and almost poetry performance. Each song ended as if it was going to be the last live track of that concert, no matter if the overall sound was approached from an electro or punk perspective or a more industrial one.
The last ‘thank you’ got caught in reverb and continued to echo until the last member of the band went off stage.
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