Fuck Buttons/The Bug – The Forum (7 February 2014)

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I must say, I’m growing rather fond of The Forum as a venue. Not for me that cavernous hall at Brixton. That said, this is probably more indicative if the stature of bands I go see that this tends to be the ‘top’ of the scale venue. Although, now I actually think about it Shepherd’s Bush Empire is probably a better comparison. I still prefer the Forum. Although it’s harder to get to and there’s shaft-all round about it.

I’ve yet to have a bad sound experience here. Tonight being no different. I enter the venue and The Bug are about halfway through their set. It’s like hitting a brick wall of noisy mixed metaphor. I genuinely find myself thinking crikey. And then, realise this is not quite a stupendously loud as it seems. It’s one of those things with electronic acts, isn’t it? The dynamics come from elsewhere. More of which later.

Although, I know the name – and despite being a Ninja Tunes act – I’m not familiar with The Bug. Based on this, he appears to be a DJ that cannot string together a full bassline. We get and annoying bar or two of some really dubby bit, then it stops and maybe he sets off one of his pseudo-loud siren samples or the two guys with mics do a bit more toasting. There’s definitely some really frustrated folk down the front looking forward to cutting a rug. It’s just not happening. They look as frustrated as I do bored.

I came to this gig as skeptic. I have tried to see Fuck Buttons on three occasions previously. Due to various reschedulings, cancellations and general miscommunications (and combinations thereof) I’ve failed each time. I began to suspect that they don’t really exist, it’s just some massive situationist prank on me.

Well someone turns up. I think it’s them. Hard to tell when ultimately it’s just two guys bent over a desk. Which they augment with a rather spiffy light show. (Although, about ten minutes in you stop thinking “oooh, that’s quite smart”.)

I bought this lot’s first album Street Horrrsing back when it came out. If I’m honest, it wouldn’t have made my top 10 that year (if I did such a thing). It’s been one of those records that when a track comes on random, it makes me go back and have another look, but I never make it all the way through. Tonight just reminds me of why. There’s a massive hole in what FB do. Too ravey for the chinstrokers, not groovy enough for the dance crowd. Although, there are a bunch of gurning wideos in front of me that seize on every single all too brief spurt of rhythm to fling an arm in the air and start nodding and shuffling. But, which never really last long enough for them to really get any momentum up.

So they go back to chatting to themselves. Which, despite this seeming like a really loud gig, I can hear over the music. They’re not screaming or anything. It’s just not as loud as it seems. This becomes fascinating to me, and I spend the rest of the gig contemplating this. Which is preferable to the monotonous onslaught of sub industrial grooveless noise. A bit like Nitzer Ebb masquerading as Phil Hartnoll.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

08 February 2014 at 9:30 am

Posted in Gigs, London, Music

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