Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Billy Mahonie, Jullander, Reynolds
Silver Rocket, Upstairs at the Garage

Welcome to post-rock central. Not since shoegazing have so many anonymous musicians turned their heads to the ground, and refused to smile or speak for the entertainment of so few. But that’s not to say that it’s all wibbling arse and pretentious guitar pyrotechnics around here. Fortunately the cream of post-rock are gathered here today to prove that some of them are able to play for the crowd’s pleasure as well as their own.

Though maybe someone needs to tell that to Essex boys Reynolds. A most contrary of beasts at the best of times, tonight they’ve blatantly gone and forgotten that not writing lyrics doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore such trivialities as melody or tunes, and if you’re going to pretend to reject all notions of traditional song writing, you really should drop the cock-rock antics as well. But apparently Chris Summerlin thinks that he needs runs through his repertoire of AC/DC impressions while wanking over his guitar like a frustrated adolescent, even if no one else would agree with him.

Fortunately Berlin’s Jullander aren’t prone to similar acts of public self-debasement, and are more than content to hunker down over their instruments and bash out a grinding motorik instead. Their tenacious guitars lock together so perfectly on ‘Blende’ that you barely even realise you haven’t got the slightest idea what they’re singing about.

But no matter how valiant Jullander may be, there’s no way that they’re going to match the majesty of the Billy Mahonie live experience. In fact, Mahonie are practically unassailable right now, as they build on the promise of their recent ‘What Becomes Before’ album, rapidly banish all thoughts of a certain bunch of balding, belligerent Scotsmen. Along with New York’s Paul Newman, Mahonie have succeeded in pushing the post-rock format into new ground, as they add folk and free jazz to their already eclectic oeuvre. Billy Mahonie are offer all the proof necessary that post-rock can be concise and enthralling, and as a dramatic encore of ‘Düsseldorf’ shows, they’re more than capable of post-rocking out with the best of them.