The Chippo Hotel, Sydney NSW
Friday 27th April
Supports: Kollaps, Rebel Yell and Potion
With a band as unique as Youth Code, I was expecting a bit of variety, but what I got was regular variety doom through to harsh post industrial madness. And all this occurred in the wonderfully snug and trendy basement that is the Chippo Hotel.
First up for the night was local stoner doom act Potion. Let me tell you, they sound exactly like you think they’d sound; occult lyrics, a plodding tempo and heavily down tuned strings. It’s not that they weren’t good, because they were, they just weren’t very memorable or engaging. Besides, I’d much rather just listen to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. Potion’s newest song was by far their best though, showed more dynamics and creativity than their other material, so that’s promising.
Following up with the genre schizophrenia for the night was electronic composer Rebel Yell. It’s always mesmerising seeing someone use a soundboard and all the requisite add ons that accompany it. But the mesmeric quality was kind of lost when I realised the music wasn’t really going anywhere. The latter half of the set saw a lot more diversity in the composition, such as a more prominent use of trippy filtered vocals and dance oriented bass, but overall it was all a bit bland and uninspiring.
After that, Kollaps quickly went about setting up their kit for their turn to take to the stage. I can easily say I was bit perplexed when Damian Coward brought out a giant metal coil with an amp jack and Robin W. Marsh started attaching a mess of padlocks (maybe?) and what looked to be an old rail road track to his drum kit. However everything started falling into place when Wade Black began pacing around the stage and through the crowd, erratic as an angered cobra, breathing, hissing and coughing into his microphone. He understands that you don’t need words to convey a sense of imminent violence, or seething unfettered rage.
Kollaps began their set, and I have to say, never before have I felt so in fear for the continuance of my life. Squealing, industrial walls of noise and accompany Coward’s bass, until he starts hammering on that fucking coil (he is literally hefting a hammer two feet away from me) creating such a beautiful cacophony that I seriously struggled gather my thoughts. Black continues roaming, crushing whatever he can find over his head, until eventually the tortured music fades out and my body lets me take a heaving breath of relief that I’m unhurt. I know they played ‘Heartworm’ and ‘Capitalism’ in their set but I was so disoriented I couldn’t rightly tell you the order. It was frankly the most effective and moving thirty minutes of music I’ve seen all year… Maybe even my life.
I was still a bit awe struck from the previous set, but seeing Youth Code remove everything from the stage so they could dance around put my thoughts back in a semblance of order. It was cramped down there, it was hot, but as soon as Ryan George kicked the music into gear, it was all forgotten. Everything I’ve ever read about Youth Code shows quickly became true; Sara Taylor windmilling her arms and jumping around like an absolute psycho, never stopping until the music does as well, George frantically dancing until he has to offer his vocal stylings, which he does with the all the zeal of the most devoted of adherents. To say Youth Code are a unique show to experience is an understatement.
Bass heavy dance numbers like ‘Shift of Dismay’, ‘Carried Mask’ and one of my favourites, ‘Tigers’s Remorse’ got the crowd moving more than a rave at your average Sydney nightclub. All walks of people were there getting down; industrial purists in their Tripp clothing and green/blue hair, right alongside metalheads in their austere jeans/boots/black shirts. It’s a testament to their music and their craftsmanship that so many people are attracted to their music. Hard electronic music isn’t all Youth Code can do though, as ‘Dust of Fallen Rome’ sounds like a gloriously uplifting anthem one would hear at the close of a massive war scene. The background synths increase behind Taylor’s vocals until they take front and centre, overwhelming the crowd with sheer happiness.
However, hardcore fuelled electronics are what they’re known for. So it was only obvious that they’d end their set with ‘Avengement’, a thumping, roiling track overflowing with angst, which was expressed by Taylor most aptly as she slammed the microphone into her head repeatedly. It adds another layer to their sound production, believe me. Alas, all things must end, so end it did. But unlike most bands, George and Taylor are very much open to meeting people afterwards. They’re less of a band, and more just two extremely talented people making great music. It’s hard to explain quite how visceral and energetic their shows are, and how rewarding it is listening to them speak, so it’s best just to make sure get off your ass, and stuff it into some tiny basement where they’re playing.
Review by Dylonov Tomasivich
Photo Gallery by the legendary Dan Turner. (dapperdan photography)
Please Credit Wall of Sound and Dan Turner if you repost.