In over 30 years of gig-going I rarely experience anything new – it’s all variations on a theme, and fair enough – but Sunn 0))) made me experience something new. And not just some choice moments, but the whole performance.
From one perspective this is a two hour health and safety nightmare: from the time you enter the venue there is so much dry ice you can barely see 10 yards in the already-dimly-lit space. We stand at the front, and only belatedly realise that (a) we are standing on metal plates which are basically sound-and-vibration amplifiers, and (b) the several square metres worth of speakers are but a few feet in front of our faces.
The noise: the bone-crushing, ribcage-rattling, nostril-vibrating tsunamis of sound, only barely recognisable as being of guitar-based origin. I literally have to shift my posture a few times to reduce the sonic echoes throbbing through my whole body. It hardly goes without saying that there is an utter lack of information or breaks between songs, and an absence of anything resembling a song or a tune.
But from a different perspective – and I realise this after a little while – it is actually hypnotic. I have the curious feeling of being elsewhere whilst all this is happening unavoidably in front of me: how does that happen? Is it something to do with sound frequencies, the strobe lighting, the sheer volume?
It’s maybe also because everything seems to happen in slow motion, everyone plays very deliberately, and the vocalist Attila just adds to the weirdness. Who knows what the hell is going on?
Unsurprisingly, mostly male, dressed in varying shades of black. Surprisingly young (at least to my eyes, in the same way as policemen etc)
It made me think..
This has possibly – genuinely – caused permanent damage to my hearing. It’s been 24 hours now and my ears still aren’t right. I will need to wait and see.