Live Report - Chrome Hoof 10/29/2010
Live Gig
Disco/Funk/Alt. Metal/Classical/etc.

Release year: 0
Reviewed by Charles
If you want to find a whole new level of appreciation for Chrome Hoof, go see them live. The visual dimension adds a another few layers of eccentricity onto the already considerable musical ones. It is a strange juxtaposition, between frontwoman Ola Adefisoye’s Funkadelic afro and shiny skin-tight spacesuit, and the rest of the band decked out in Sunn 0)))-style hooded robes. Though if you’ve heard records such as this year’s Crush Depth, you may think it perhaps fits the band’s eclectic and unpredictable sound perfectly. The setting is The Wardrobe in Leeds, a venue I know from my undergraduate days as a hotbed of funk at weekends and curious Euro-jazz on weeknights, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the first time harsh vocals, let alone erstwhile members of Cathedral had graced its staged.

The band was excellent. Their tight performance drove home the sheer cleverness of a lot of the technical flourishes that make their way into their music- curiously off-kilter stabs, dramatic ensemble dynamic swells and rapid transitions- that get lost in the exuberant eclecticism that is the abiding impression of the band on record. Aside from Lola, the star of the show was perhaps electric violinist Sarah Anderson, around whom the band morphed seamlessly from early-Mahavishnu Orchestra-inspired string-led funk delirium to strange pseudo-classical interludes that reminded me of the Clockwork Orange soundtrack. Chrome Hoof call themselves an ‘experimental orchestra’ rather than a band, and again, it is live that this makes sense. Not only did we get a bassoon (the first time I have seen such a thing at a gig since I went to a Faure recital whilst doing my music GCSE) but an array of percussion ranging from a gong to a Tibetan singing bowl. It’s like a very up-market Slipknot.

The set list was obviously diverse, each of their songs being a curiosity in itself, making it hard to distinguish clear highpoints. Still, Witches Instruments and Furnaces deserves a special mention. It breaks the momentum of the high-energy staccato grooving that characterises much of the set, and instead plunges the (disappointingly small but impressed) audience into a grim shuffle through Goblin or Fabio Frizzi-like menace, given otherworldly depth particularly by the expertly handled orchestral percussion and croaking bassoon lines. It builds into a freakish chugging groove in which certain members’ metal roots become increasingly apparent. This is the heaviest moment of the night and an intense audio-visual spectacle.

Aside from having liked to have seen more people there, my friend and I were wondering if there wasn’t something missing. His idea was that the band should have had more elaborate choreography, but personally I would have liked some sections to have been freewheeled more, making room for some more instrumental soloing. Still, that feels like nit-picking. This was a great gig, by a band that you should listen to.

Killing Songs :
Witches Instruments and Furnaces
Charles quoted no quote
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