(I genuinely intended to never do gig reviews)
If Alan Moore and Chris Morris had teamed up in the 1980’s and made a satirical documentary about the future and had a scene where their protagonists went to a gig, they would have chosen the look, the style, and the music of Evil Blizzard. Everything about it screams dystopia, the masks and costumes, the repetitive head nodding music, the exhortations to ‘sacrifice!’ and the demands to know how ‘evil’ you are. ‘This is the future of your underground music,’ they could have said, ‘be afraid!’ Of course, to be fair, this probably is that very future. Hence Evil Blizzard.
I went and engaged with that future last night at a pub in Leicester. My previous exposure to Evil Blizzard was their contribution to a split with Mamuthones that they did earlier this year – the aforementioned tune ‘Sacrifice’ had me hooked, and I had a more than passing awareness of the fact they had an album coming out around now. But beyond that, I knew nothing.
So I was a little surprised when the five middle aged blokes who’d been setting up onstage disappeared and were replaced 5 minutes later by blokes wearing masks and outfits. I was even more surprised to see that not one of them picked up a ‘standard’ guitar – 4 of them picked up a bass guitar, the other one played some drums. However, it’s amazing what kind of sound you can make when you use 4 basses and a shitload of effects. And when they all hit the low end together, the resultant sound was heavy as fuck.
Quite simply, they have brought glam and theatre to the world of psychedelic rock, and that is a Good Thing. They throw shapes, they don’t take themselves too seriously and they engage with the audience. And they play some rather fine music. I found myself wondering whether their real faces behind the masks unconsciously took on the expression of their outward mask – if so, I particularly felt sorry for the bass player. His face may end up a rictus. The whole thing is entertaining, yes, but it is also quite shamanic (there must be a better word than that but I can’t think of it just yet). Probably a whole thesis could be written on the uses of masks in performance, the effect this has on both the performers and the audience and so on. This is not that thesis.
Off the basis of last night’s gig I shall buy the aforementioned new album (they didn’t seem to have merch or I would have bought one last night). In many ways I don’t care whether the CD matches the gig (recorded music never matches up usually – even my favourite release of the year doesn’t match up to its live performance). Even if the CD is rubbish, I’ll go and see them again. And again. Assuming they play Leicester again, that is. Or somewhere nearby.
I think they enjoyed it too. It was the bass player that gave it away.