Unsuppressing the Tago Mago

Eddy Current Suppression Ring at the Vera Project, Seattle | 27 June 2010

Last night at the Vera Project was the second Eddy Current Suppression Ring gig in as many days here in Seattle. Saturday night’s one at the Funhouse with Partman Parthorse and A Frames opening would have been my preferred show, but last night was the one I was able to attend, and I was put through the ringer by a couple hardcore bands that played first (I missed the Unnatural Helpers super early set). I’m a punk rock fan, but I never really got into hardcore. It comes off as too forced, contrived and you can’t dance to it. You can stage dive, but since all the bands last night set up on the floor that wasn’t a possibility (Q: Why does the Vera Project have a stage? A: Uh, I’m not sure). I guess you could also slam to it, but no one was doing that, it was a crowd full of head bobbers for both Iron Lung and the Slices. I couldn’t even bob my head, I just kind of endured it.

After the pummeling, polite gentlemen punks Eddy Current Suppression Ring was much needed relief. I don’t even think I would go so far as to call The Melbourn, Australia band punks. Their songs, may be informed by punk, but many of them extend into these shuddering-inducing Spacemen 3/Can-like jams that many punks would disavow. In a kind of immaculate conception, the band were born at a record pressing plant (Corduroy Records) where they use to work, and not an electrical substation as their name would suggest.  As the band set up and plugged in, singer Brendan warmed up with leg stretches the way a runner would, and then tightened his belt and put on his gloves transforming him from mild mannered dude to the maniac that stalks the stage like he is part avian, part dementia victim.

Instead of overwhelming our ears with relentless forced intensity though, Eddy Current Suppression Ring coaxed and cajoled it out of their songs.  Tuning Out began unassumingly with the raw chords of Mickey’s guitar, then bass and drums and finally Brendan’s vocals.  Each verse seemed to build on the next with the band feeding off each other, forming it into a turned-out groove.  The highlight of the night had to be I Admit My Faults which also started out slow and minimal, then built to a peak somewhere in the middle, and then somewhere after that Mickey’s guitar dropped out revealing a rhythm section that literally put shivers down my spine.  The entire room seemed to lock into the groove, the space time continuum slowed, I blinked and everyone was dancing and smiling, and I think I saw Lars Finberg of the Intelligence on the floor hanging onto Mickey’s leg.  That song last night was like a drug literally, altering minds and making people go nuts.  It wasn’t all long songs and jams, the band played stuff from all three of their albums including some under three minute highlights like Walked Into a Corner, Anxiety, Memory Lane, and It’s All Square, but it was the ones they stretched out that won the night.

mp3: Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Anxiety (from the highly recommended Rush to Relax)

Here’s some dark video of It’s All Square:

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