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Live Report - Acrobatic Society, 'Kick Me, I'm Down' launch party

Posted on Saturday, 9 March 2013 | No Comments

  Having already told you all about how fantastic their new EP is, Acrobatic Society's launch party for their just-released Kick Me, I'm Down was always set to be a big night on the Newcastle music calendar. With a great support roster as well - new band Yellow Creatures, scene stalwarts O'Messy Life and Fawn Spots from York - and an inspired choice of venue in rarely used (for music anyway) art space The NewBridge Project though, it was downright unmissable. So what went down? Well, that's what this piece is here to tell you folks...

Opening up the night, Yellow Creatures put on an impressive set by any standards, let alone for a band only on their second gig (and with a substitute bassist as well). Full of Chairs Missing textures and jerky twists and turns, their tense and cinematic sound finds its own spin on post-punk revivalism by injecting a slice of pre-punk pub rock guitar action into the formula. As such, their songs ride twisted blues riffs that get bent out of shape by odd time signatures and sudden shifts, like the way Numb suddenly explodes from its menacing riff into a technicolour synth coda. It's early days yet, but there's plenty to enjoy and plenty to admire in a commanding performance like this.

Next up are the ever-reliable, every-bloody-brilliant O'Messy Life. Having honed their pop-prog-punk chops over several years, they're now a constantly energetic and delightful live act that's one of the finest in the region. With their penchant for giddy Weezer riffs and bleak lyricism (how many other bands manage two singles on the trot concerning group suicide, let alone make them sound as fists-in-the-air joyful as Escape Velocity and Little Vehicles?), they're always a treat and needless to say they don't let the side down. As the last gig with current guitar/keys player Tom Bagnall, there's a slightly bittersweet feel as they roll into the concluding ballad, but the rock thrills keep coming regardless.

Injecting some straight up punk into the proceedings are York's Fawn Spots, a trio who know how to keep it fast and loose in just the right way. Singles like Spansish Glass and Gravelines boast a subtle line in scruffy but tuneful songwriting beneath all the fuzz and noise, and there's definetely moments in their set where the collision of sandblasted power chords and classic melody nods towards Husker Du and the other SST greats. At times though, the speed and the thrasing lets the songs blur into one and end up too similar to each other. There's some great fun going on with them, but they could do with knowing when to thrown a curveball into the mix.

At last, the inevitably over-running gig lurches towards its climax when headliners Acrobatic Society make the stage. While here to celebrate their latest release, they kick off the night with two stand-outs from their previous Meat Meets Meat EP, both of them sounding considerably more ferocious and powerful than their under-produced recorded form: Rot especially is a brilliant howl of protest against the age of austerity in live form. It's when they launch into the Kick Me, I'm Down material that they really take flight though: Deek It is a storming roll of sniping violins and insistent, pulsating rhythm, and Surgical sounds downright unstoppable. Hell, the whole band sound like they're down-right unstoppable...until some over-zealous council regulations force them to leave the stage only part-way through concluding track Death Industry. It's an anti-climactic end to a superb display of intelligent, brute force, but Acrobatic Society still deserve to be proud of putting out a great EP, arranging a brilliantly put-together night and pulling off yet another devestating gig.

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