Last night I attended a genuinely intense Godflesh show at Irving Plaza that did not disappoint with it’s line-up or it’s main band. Originally the show was to have taken place last October but was rescheduled, so you can imagine my joy when this night finally came. The only downsides were:
1) That it was a Thursday night (hate to have to get up and work the next day)
2) The show didn’t start until 9:30 (yes I’m an old fart! but a new mommy!! so you can see my concern)
In any case, I was pleasantly surprised to see the first musician, Margaret Chardiet of Pharmakon come up on stage. To be honest, I did not bother to check who was playing with Godflesh last night, partly because it was a rescheduled show and I must have glossed over the original line-up way back in October, and partly because I like the serendipitous discovery of seeing new bands to love or hate.
Set amidst amps and a minimalistic looking mixtrack controller with a makeshift sounding board, I had no idea what to expect as the lights dimmed and Pharmakon took stage. And I certainly did not expect to hear the extreme noise coming from a very creative and petite Margaret Chardiet. Described as an experimental noise musician by her record label Sacred Bones, Chardiet’s added vocals, which ranges from death growls to straight screaming, added further extremity and dimension to her heavy, constructed electronics. I was so happy to hear and see a woman creating music with such fervor and magnitude in a typically male-dominated genre, where female performers seem to be so rare that I was must have appeared awestruck and doe-eyed as song after song was played.
At times, Chardiet’s repetitive screaming of, “I don’t belong here” seemed to resonate with my feelings of feminism and metal, echoing perhaps, the underlying challenges of being creative in male-coded spaces.
Though I didn’t get to tape last night’s show, here’s a clip from one of her other performances. You can see without a doubt, why she got to tour with Godflesh.
Next up was Cut Hands. Made up of sole musician William Bennett, original founder of the UK industrial/electronic band Whitehouse and primly dressed in a black blazer and charmingly smart glasses, Mr. Bennett came up to the stage and approached his Macbook with precision as he began to spin some insane Afro-inspired industrial fusion.
The climatic point of his performance was probably towards the middle where he began dancing and digesting the spirit of the music itself. Add to that, a stunningly beautiful background of rotating images reflecting Africa and it’s culture and you had a widely diverse approach to both music and aesthetic atmosphere. At one other point, I remember thinking to myself that the vibrations from the music alone made me feel as though I was on a jet plane readying for departure. All in all, it was quite the scene.
Ah but the best scene was left for last….GODFLESH!
My husband and I had last seen Godflesh when they played the Maryland Deathfest in 2012. I think I was 6 months pregnant at the time! It was great because we both thought we’d never see Godflesh reunited and playing stateside! Last night’s show was an even better experience as we were literally 3 feet away from Justin Broderick as he slammed his music into our souls! \m/
Some of the songs played were:
- Like Rats
- Crush My Soul
- Christbait Rising
I enjoyed the set and was happy to see Godflesh looking like they enjoyed it too. There was an overall nice turnout and I was glad to see that at least a third of the audience was female. I wasn’t surprised to see a small percent of females in the group but I was surprised a handful that seemed to be there without any accompaniment, either boyfriends or friends. Also of note was the nice feeling of not being the only Asian girl in the room. My husband joked that he was probably the only Trini-Indian there though. I got to see a variety of ethnicities (those which I could easily discern) and thought that was part of the unique make-up that is New York City. My original perusal showed Caucasians being the dominant ethnicity (not surprising), with Hispanic/Spanish a close second, and the rest made up of Black and Asian folks.