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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 104 - 03/25/05

What is music? Festival
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, AUS, 6.3.05

As part of the weekend-long 'What is music?' festival at the Forum, there were cheap evenings of chaos at the Corner too. As fate would have it this gig coincided with my mate Will's last night in Melbourne before his long flight into the inky night to touch down in Hong Kong. And then back to Blighty.

So what was the draw for this evening? Black Dice. They're one of those bands that I've read a great deal about - most of it favourable, or at least interesting - but I haven't heard a single piece of music. So, this was a dive into the unknown, with wife and friend in tow. What was I letting myself in for?

Thankfully OOIIOO were good. With Yoshimi (of Boredoms and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots fame) up front on vocals and guitar, and three other long-haired and moshing Japanese women on guitar, bass and drums, they tore through a heavy, repetitive groove smeared with effects. The sound was excellent and their set was short but sweet, pretty melodies occasionally rising and falling back into the bass mud.

And then Black Dice. Jesus those guys look unwell. Maybe it's a few days of uninterrupted gigging and drugging, but all three of them looked ready to flake out. It must be the effect of their sound on the body: a monumental thunder of drum machines put through delay pedals, electronic screeching, guitar roar and vocal ranting. It was relentless and painful and I sweated with embarrassment for bringing my pop-loving friend. We left after fifteen minutes of onslaught.

Experimental music - it's fine, y'know? But when you're tired and emotional Black Dice are the last thing you'd choose. Can't tell whether it was just bad timing or bad music. There was some interesting texture amidst the cacophony, but I hadn't the energy to tease it out.

Bye Will - hope the ears are OK.

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