As The Moonlandingz arrived in town, Getintothis’ Paul Higham was on hand to witness the sordid spectacle in all its grotesque majesty.
Having begun as a concept on Eccentronic Research Council‘s 2015 album Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine… I’m Your Biggest Fan the fictitious The Moonlandingz are now very much real, as anyone in the Invisible Wind Factory would surely attest.
Excess was the order of the day, evident from the moment that Lias Saoudi strode purposefully onto the stage shirtless but with a woollen jumper bound tight to his midriff by clingfilm. Saoudi revels in the grotesque, playing the part of the pantomime villain with a keen sense of revelry and devilment.
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Larger than life yet without ever feeling contrived, Saoudi is a compelling frontman almost singlehandedly reviving a lost art. This is entertainment delivered with a whiff of danger and a spoonful of menace, taking every opportunity to whip up a crowd who didn’t need a second invitation.
As crucial to the success as the sense of spontaneity is the relationship between Saoudi and Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club. Tonight she was much more than his foil, giving as good as she got with a powerful display of liberated lasciviousness.
Their dynamic is as inspired as it is compelling. Lurching like a back-alley drunkard from the tender to the violent to the overtly sexual, it can’t fail to command your attention as they interact like a latter day Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan.
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There was a similar lack of subtlety in the music. Big, circular riffs of glammed-up electro-psych filled the imposing space to deafness-inducing intensity. Huge pop-hooks aplenty, it served to remind that music should be about fun, and unbridled enjoyment was high on the agenda here.
This sense of enjoyment was keenly felt by a crowd eager to respond to the sonic assaults created on-stage. Fervent mosh-pits developed, feeding hungrily as layer upon layer was added to what at times was a relentless swirl and at others a furiously beat-led propulsion.
Earlier Goat Girl continued their rise with restrained effortlessness and make no mistake the Rough Trade-signed act are the real deal. In contrast to The Moonlandingz, Goat Girl are aloof and considered allowing their playing and songs to do the talking for them.
Indeed it is the music that provides Goat Girl with a sense of presence and gravitas. Laced with a brooding swagger and gothic noir undertones, the trio conjure up malevolent post-punk atmospherics with a remarkable sense of restraint.
For all their measured indifference there is a prevailing sense of menace and snarl as vocals are delivered with a biblical intensity and fraught urgency. It is rare to see a band so young appear so fully formed, with this in mind their future certainly appears bright.
More bands should be like Pink Kink who open the night by proving you can be serious abut your art without taking yourself too seriously. Injecting a heady dose of infectious energy the band set the mood early with a defiantly anarcho-punk and riot grrrl sensibility, a fusion of danceable anger with artistic vision.
There were more delicate moments. Swathes of guitar-led ambience providing textural contrast to the unhinged sharp-edged fury while the culmination of their short set sees the band stray into near-hip hop territory with Beastie Boys-inspired potency. With an abrasive display of art-punk, Pink Kink proved once again they are one of the city’s freshest and boldest talents.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Amy Faith