Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Moff Fest

Saturday and I'm back at the Hare and Hounds for more post-rock frivolities at Moff Fest. Five bands playing instrumental guitar/drums-based music after a long day at work and I think I'll be forgiven for saying it all kinda merged into one after a while, but then I'm not a hardcore intelli-rock aficionado and this evening was for those who most certainly are. It was also a full on DIY event, the first gig organised by this chap Phil and done purely because he wanted to do it, which always makes for the niceness. You could tell it was his first gig because he'd booked five bands and organised a laptop-powered projection show for each one but the gods were smiling as it all ran smoothly with no over-runs or technical mishaps - no mean feat when you're dealing with bands with a lot of kit and the desire to sound just right.

Cornish Tin MinersOf the bands, Burnst and The Hubble Constant didn't make a huge impact on me, which is not to say they were sub-standard in any way - they just weren't my cup of noodle-rock. I really liked Cornish Tin Miners, the opening act, who, if memory serves (such is the curse of the opening act) were a drums/bass/guitar three piece who did a delicate, complicated almost jazzy set that made me think "ah, so that's math-rock!" Unfortunately their set was very short but I'd like to see them again. Kinda in the style of Tortoise and that's a good thing. If they have a website or some music online I'd like to know about it.

MothertruckerMothertrucker were a lot of fun, though they were the closest to trad-rock of the bunch so I was probably able to connect with them easier. You can't go wrong with a good solid thumping riff and they had plenty of these. On a more superficial level their background projection was quite inspired. While the other bands had random clips and images accompanying Mothertrucker simply had a DVD of Duel, a movie I've inexplicably not seen before. It started with a giant truck pummeling down the road, which was kinda obvious, but halfway through moved to a tense and paranoid scene in a diner. The projection stopped being a distraction (sorry, but I'm not a fan of this sort of thing on the whole) and suddenly merged with the music creating something quite large despite the band being unaware that they'd be playing against it. A lovely piece of serendipity, but even without this Mothertrucker were very good and I'd recommend seeing them if you like rock of the stoner variety.

Una Corda - EarlAnd then to the headliners, Una Corda, who I hadn't seen before despite one of my flatmates being in the band and the drummer having been a friend for a year or so. I've alluded to it before, but Una Corda are mountain men, giant slabs of hair and bloke who you can imagine driving 18 wheelers or wrestling cows for the fun of it. When I opened my front door to the other three for the first time I felt strangely intimidated, as if the psychic power of their manliness threatened to bring my inner mouse to the fore. And hey, I used to hang with hairy bikers in my youth, not to mention some of the characters I've worked with via the temp agency, so this is saying something. Of course they turned out to be lovely people but their collective size, especially when compared to the predominance of somewhat nerdy glasses wearing skinny chaps on this scene (which, I have to say, I like), bears mentioning.

Una Corda - DougAs for their music, I was somewhat blown away. I'd heard their EP, Proper Position for Floating (review), and what with living with one of them knew they'd be pretty good, but I had no idea they'd be this good. Comprising of two bass guitars, two lead guitars and drums you'd expect them to make a lot of noise, and they do, but it's incredibly controlled and subtle, taking the established norms of repeated layers of riffs and quiet-loud build as the base from which to develop some complex ideas and emotions. The lack of a vocalist is more than made up for by having each player lead at different times, but not in a cheesy solo way, more that they actually lead the others into one direction as part of a coherent whole. No disrespect to the other bands but Una Corda really felt professional - they had a control over their songs (and they were really songs, not tunes) that was precise yet not clinical, complicated but accessible, and they put a big grin on my face.

And then that was it. I think Moff Fest was a success - at least everyone seemed to enjoy themselves a lot and it all went very smoothly. Even though this isn't a genre I'm heavily into I had a good time and it was good to see this sort of DIY event taking place fueled by a real passion. I was going to put post-rock to one side for a bit but by golly there's another one on Wednesday (tomorrow!) - the Capsule Xmas Party with Pelican, Mistress and, oh, Una Corda. See you there?

Originally posted here


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