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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Live Review – Sunn )))

Koko, London
June 12th 2012

Urban legends claim that strange circumstances befall those who decide to brave a Sunn O))) gig. To wit:

· Numerous people have been literally laid unconscious by their ultra-low bass sub-sonics

· Those persons who decide to listen without earplugs have been struck deaf for three days or more

· That when the band hit ‘the brown note’ the audience will spontaneously defecate themselves….

Bearing all this in mind it seems like a good idea to attend the band's latest tour, which stopped off at the Koko in Camden. I quickly decide earplugs are for pussies and decide to face their sonic assault like a man. Eventually the band take the stage in their customary robes, though it's unclear in the murky light exactly who (or WHAT) is on stage at any time – a situation not helped by the decision to pump out enough dry ice to embalm the front three throws of the audience. One of the hooded mob strikes into a cavernous bass rumble drenched in feedback before other underworldly noises kick in. The intro lasts about 38 minutes (by my watch) before a desolate spoken vocal kicks in which occasionally breaks in to a demented howl or impassioned vitriolic rant.

This one song lasts for the full 90 minutes the band are on stage. For some reason it’s utterly mesmerising – their finely honed act replicating a kind-of ritualistic eardrum disembowelment. Would I go again? Well, at the time it was a fairly uncomfortable experience, but afterwards I immediately wanted to do it again – sort of like ripping off a fingernail. As the gig ends I’m almost disappointed to find out I haven’t soiled myself. Maybe next time.

Austin Matthews

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