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The Murder Act
Power Lunches, London
Thursday November 22 2012



Down into the Tardis-in-reverse confines of this Dalston basement - I'm sure it gets smaller and darker every time I'm here - for another night of London underground noise.

Our first noisemakers are The Murder Act, who cram themselves onto the miniscule stage as best they can and proceed to get on their best bad trip tip. The Murder Act's wall of sound is huge and fearsome, like first-album Psychedelic Furs crossed with Chairs Missing-period Wire, with an extra helping of nihilism and a dollop of angst on top.

And, tonight, they've also got a copiously refreshed lead singer lurching about up front, which lends the performance a certain extra piquancy.

He staggers and reels and bawls out the vocals as if hailing ships across a storm-tossed Bay of Biscay, face scrunched in agony as he teeters dangerously close to the edge of the stage in his curiously un-rock 'n' roll brown brogue shoes. I don't know what planet he's on, but it's probably not quite the same one as the rest of the band tonight. Still, it all adds to the sturm und drang.

The Murder Act push everything onwards and upwards to a thunderous conclusion, as if they're carving rock 'n' roll out of a solid block of nihilism. In the close confines of this small black-painted basement it's a powerful experience. It would be interesting to find out if The Murder Act can maintain their intensity in a larger venue, but tonight we're all in the pressure cooker together.

The Murder Act

Last time I saw Dogfeet, they were sharing the stage with sundry bits of scrap metal and a giant white rabbit at the Supernormal Festival.

There are no white rabbits in Power Lunches tonight (apart from the ones the lead singer of The Murder Act is probably seeing right now) - and no scrap metal, either. Dogfeet have edged a little closer to the parameters of normal rock music...which still doesn't mean they're that close.

But they've stripped their instrumentation down to the no-shit basics of drums/bass/guitar, on which gear they flam up a fearsome percussive thunder, hammering and battering as if trying to shift the building off its foundations by sheer force of soundwaves.

White light from industrial floodlamps blazes into the crowd, the light almost as physically brutal as the sound. Over all this a voice hollers a deranged mantra, a rebel yell that's almost submerged by the rhythm-blast, although amid the racket odd fragments of coherence break through. It does seem as if there are real words, real lyrics, real things being said. This may be noisy, but it's not just noise. There's structure here, and, lurking somewhere in the thunder, yer actual songs.

You might expect the audience to quail under the onslaught, but it seems the Dogfeet Barmy Army is in tonight. They know what Dogfeet do, and they know what to do about it. Power Lunches erupts in a mad swirl of bodies, as the mosh kicks off. It's heady stuff, a cathatic blast - and if the very relentlessness of the performance does make me wonder where Dogfeet can go after this. If you stake out your territiory at the extremes to start with, what next?

I dunno. Possibly even Dogfeet don't know. Maybe it's all about the moment. And filling the moment with noise.






The Murder Act:




For more photos from this gig, find the bands by name here.


Find a Dogfeet interview here.

Find Dogfeet and The Murder Act record reviews here.

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Page credits: Review, photos and construction by Michael Johnson. Nemesis logo by Antony Johnston. Red N version by Mark Rimmell.
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