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Glass DiamondGob$au$age
Toy Toy
Glass Diamiond

The Playground @ 93 Feet East, London
Saturday November 14 2009




If Atari Teenage Riot really were riotous teens, they'd be Glass Diamond. Shrieking and clattering and throwing extravagant shapes amid carefully-engineered electro chaos, the Diamonds rock out like a collection of Bart Simpsons let loose in a branch of Currys Digital. A drummer holds it all together at the back, while up front a skinny urchin hurls himself about, variously and precariously attached to guitars and electronics. Amid the fizzing sonic brew thus created, a hyperactive girl throws martial arts shapes and  delivers the vocals like she's a pop star from another planet.

And Glass Diamond are a pop group - their music, fractured and freaky, all shapes and colours - has a lot more to do with the brash immediacy of pop than the studied seriousness of ye olde rock music. It's just not pop music as we know it. At least, not in this corner of the universe. At the end of the set, the singer and guitarist collapse onto the stage, as if their batteries had suddenly run down. Energy versus entropy: wham, bang, and that's our lot.

Toy Toy have lost a keyboard player and gained a bassist since I last clapped eyes on the band. Thus it is that the line-up now appears a little more conventional, but again we're not by any means in the traditional rock band zone. Toy Toy  still make an energetic bang-crash racket, their songs pithy slices of pop watermelon, juice squirting everywhere.

Toy ToyIn a fine display of multi-tasking, the singer manages to wallop her guitar, keep up a non-stop flow of urgent, Laaahndon-inflected vocals, and periodically pull her trousers up as the songs hammer along. In fact, her constant struggle with her ever-descending strides becomes quite a visual gag - I can't help wondering if she wore them for just this purpose. Either that, or it's a case of the extreme hipster look gone a bit wrong. But still, Toy Toy's spunky, punky pop wins out over the wardrobe malfunction. Pants down and party, as I believe the hipsters say.

Now, having previously discussed the dichotomy of pop music versus the ancient rite of rock, we can unceremoniously throw all such considerations out of the window and simply get our anarchy on. Because here come Gob$au$age, who are not a band of any sort - although, in a token nod to the conventions of a gig, there's a guitarist and violinist on stage, adding their noise to the electro pump and crackle of the backing track.

But that's as far as conventionality goes with the Gobs. They're more like a situationist game of porno charades. A motley assortent of chancers and dancers, pouters and shouters, invade the stage in a flurry of tits, masks, and body paint, and proceed to incomprehensibly harrangue the audience over a whumping racket that sounds like Soft Cell with a hard on. Half-dressed girls strike attitudes like a nightmare Top Of The Pops dance troupe; a scary man shouts crossly at us from behind a home-made gimp mask. The spectacle is ludicrous and glorious - and the audience hates it.

Catcalls and heckling break out all over the venue; not that Gob$sau$age take any notice. They don't even have any gaps between their songs - perhaps wisely, their strategy is just to keep going, and not let the crowd get a word in. In a sudden escalation of hostilities, the catcalls turn to missiles. Beer cans hurtle towards the stage, some of them still containing beer. There are people buying cans of Red Stripe from the bar (at £3.50 a pop, not a purchase to be undertaken lightly), shaking them up, yanking the ring-pull like the pin of a hand grenade, and then chucking the resulting beer-bomb at the gyrating loons on stage.

And you know what? That's a good reaction. Any band that can inspire that level of passion in its audience - to the point where they're willing to spend real money to Gob$au$agemake their feelings known - is getting a result. Gob$au$age's electro-punk porno parade might look like something that's fallen off the back of a float at an ararchists' carnival, but that's the whole point of it. In a world where rock bands routinely try to contrive some sort of faux-controversial schtick, it takes this collection of ranty-crackers exotic dancers to show how to really rile up a crowd.

Eventually, the Gobs stop. There's no 'Thankyou, goodnight!' and definitely no encore. They simply switch off the noise and bugger off the stage, leaving a beer-sodden mess behind them.

Nutters, obviously. But brilliant nutters.


Gob$au$age: MySpace | Facebook

Toy Toy: MySpace | Facebook

Glass Diamond: MySpace | Facebook

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

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