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Thursday 31 October 2019

Full Moon

Moon Duo arrived on stage on Tuesday night at the Dancehouse, taking up their places inside the four-sided tent set up for them to perform inside, Ripley with guitar stage right in jeans, t-shirt and trucker cap and Sanae Yamada stage left behind a rack of keys and synths, in silver smock and black PVC trousers. Behind them drummer John Jeffrey, long haired and channelling the motorik beat of Klaus Dinger but faster and louder. At the back of the stage three projectors throw films, patterns, colours, shapes, roads, tower blocks, snowstorms and fractals onto the trio as they play, an intense and stunning lightshow. The strobe flashes away and at times the backlighting throws up Moon Duo in silhouette, on the screen at the front, giving the impression of two Moon Duos playing at once.

During the dozen or so songs they barely look at the audience, instead locked into each other and the groove. The synth chatters away between songs, the sounds of birdsong and crickets. John Jeffrey triggers the drum machine and then piles in on the live kit and they're off, Sanae filling the venue with drones and noise, synth bass and texture and the drums powering forward, glorious repetition. Over the top Ripley finds the space to glide over the top, his guitar playing alternately Stooges like riffs and dripping, molten solos. The twin vocals are smothered in reverb. Opener Flying kick starts the evening, a half paced shuffle with spacey, cosmic synths. Most of the rest of Stars Are The Light, released just a few weeks ago, is aired, the drones, melodies, phased vocals and the lightshow bouncing round the stage and the room. The dreamy Lost Heads is a psychedelic delight, The World And The Sun is way out, up into the rafters and into the sky. Centrepiece to the set is the epic White Rose, the ten minute highlight of 2017's Occult Architecture Vol 1, a synth driven, dark ride into the night, a menacing and ferocious slow burn. The main set closer Sevens is half Hendrix and half Neu! Ducking under the back wall of the tent the Moon Duo trio return for an encore finishing with their cover of Alan Vega's Jukebox Babe, a two note synth bump and grind, guitar lines fired off as Ripley croons the pared back lyrics. Sometimes the most memorable gigs take place at the weekend, everyone fired up by the freedom from work and lubricated, singing along. Sometimes though they can take place on a cold and sober Tuesday night, tucked away in small art deco theatres away from the bigger, brighter lights. Moon Duo are on fire at the moment, playing to small audiences and showing the possibilities of music that dates back decades but is still just up ahead. If they're playing anywhere near you, go see them.

White Rose

1 comment:

The Swede said...

I was away for much of the past two weeks, so missed this great review at the time, but was alerted to it by Drew in his Monday Long song post. I saw Moon Duo 3 or 4 years ago and they were incredible, though I continued to have a hankering to someday catch a Wooden Shjips show. Earlier this year I finally got my wish. Unfortunately they were quite dull and were totally blown off stage by Gnoomes. It wasn't just me, there was a steady trickle of unimpressed punters heading out of the door as the set went on. Give me Moon Duo any day of the week.