Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Loomer, Axxonn @ Ric's Bar (29.01.08)

Regular attendees of Brisbane noise-rock gigs will likely immediately recognise the two members of Axxonn, Ian Rogers from doom-punkers No Anchor and noise artist Tom Hall (who also moonlights in Secret Birds). Where the regular acts of these two musicians generally tend towards the more abrasive end of the musical spectrum, Axxonn have a much more soothingly warm and embracing sound. Consisting mostly of warm synth swells and repetitive melodies that are slowly manipulated and embellished with the addition of effects or gradually undulating dynamics, occasionally grounded by a subtle beat, their set consisted of 3 or 4 songs which seamlessly blended into one another, becoming acts in a larger, cohesive musical passage. Ric's would not generally be the best venue to experience music with this sort of subtlety, but the crowd at this show was surprisingly reverent and focused on the sounds emanating from the stage. While I'm told later that the darkness of the venue's PA hid some of the subtlety located in the high-end of Axxonn's music, it had the effect of making the experience even warmer sounding and all encompassing.

You can download their free EP 'Should You Fear Hell' from their website (I believe that Gav is going to review it soon). Axxonn are also playing The Hangar on March 14th with AHeadphoneHome and some other bands.

This was actually my third time seeing Loomer in the space of a week - the first time, at the Step Inn, was a bit rough but with a few indications that there was some quality music underneath it all; the second time was at The Zoo, where they took advantage of the big PA and blew the roof of the place with a rock solid performance, upstaging the rest of the bands that followed that evening (including the mighty Secret Birds). This Ric's show was somewhere in between, but the quality of their performance meant that it tended more to the second show than the first.

As much as I don't want to merely reduce this review to a list of comparisons to other bands, I'm kind of forced to. The common statement made about Loomer is that 'they sound like My Bloody Valentine' - certainly being named after a song from Loveless doesn't help them in that regard. It's not an entirely baseless remark (especially if you listen to the track 'In Me' on their myspace), but their name is misleading insofar as the band don't so much envoke the sound of that classic album as they do the band's earlier, more angular recordings such as the Feed Me With Your Kiss and You Made Me Realise EPs. Loomer are a far more muscular band, being just as much indebted to MBV's American cousins Sonic Youth (circa Daydream Nation and Goo). They actually reminded me somewhat of the now defunct Brisbane band Frou Frou Foxes at times, although Loomer are much less aggressive and more melodic than that group.

One thing that has struck me about Loomer each time I've seen them is the amount of effort they are putting into their music - they're not merely a bunch of kids who are goofing around trying to replicate their favourite bands. You can hear the songs in amongst the noise, and you can see that the band care about doing them justice when performing. They walk the tightrope between pure noise and pop as well as any other local band I can think of from recent times.

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