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Mission Of Burma - Koko, London, 22/5/2006

  by Jamie Rowland

published: 26 / 5 / 2006

Mission Of Burma - Koko, London, 22/5/2006


Legendary Seattle post punk trio Mission of Burma reformed in 2002 and recently played their first British gig in many years at the London Koko as a warm-up before their All Tomorrow's Parties appearance. Jamie Rowland finds them on stunningly good form

For me, the chance to see Mission of Burma play live is like someone offering me tickets to see the Clash. They’re a band of legendary status (in some circles, at least) whose amazing live shows I’d read about numerous times, and whose songs inspired many of my favourite bands today. But having been broken up for 3 years before I was even born, I never thought I’d actually get the chance to see them. With the band’s reformation in 2002, and the announcement of an All Tomorrow’s Parties warm up gig at London’s fantastic Koko, that chance, however, came up after all. Of course, there was a slight sense of apprehension as I walked into the venue. Quite often when bands reform, it seems like a desperate attempt to fight the aging process, showing the kids they’re still cool, they still rock and they can still stick it to the man – but more often than not they look like your teachers doing Blondie at the end of year performance. My excitement out-weighed my worry, however, and I pushed such pessimistic thoughts to the back of my mind and took my place in the crowd. The band came on and hooked their instruments up. Clint Conley gave a twang of his bass string which translated as a sonic boom out of the PA system. Roger Miller then joined him, testing how his guitar sounded - it sounded LOUD. Peter Prescott was ready at his drums, and, although a number of people in the crowd didn’t at first realise it, Shellac’s Bob Weston was sitting in a high balcony at his tape deck. As Burma went into their first number, I could literally feel the pressure on my ear drums; I had heard a lot about the volume this band would play when they were originally playing shows, and they’ve lost none of their desire to make peoples’ ears bleed over the years. And neither had they lost any of their energy; they jumped around, screamed and pounded their instruments as hard as any angry young punk starting out today. Their sound's a mixture of punk riffs, thunderous drums and whirling noise from Weston’s tape manipulation, and the crowd loved it - many of them were even younger than me and had not come to see Mission of Burma but Broken Social Scene,the other band on the bill, and probably had no idea who they were, but by a couple of songs in most people were lapping it up. For me, this was one of the most memorable shows I’ll probably ever go to. To hear songs like ‘That’s When I Reach for My Revolver’ or ‘Academy Fight Song’ played live is a fantastic experience, like watching masters of the trade go to work. The new songs, such as ‘Spider’s Web’, are also equally as strong. I particularly liked the songs where Prescott took the lead vocal, as he really barked out his lyrics. Mission of Burma live is as good as I had been led to believe, and more so; loud and energetic with brilliant songs and a sound still fresh today.

Picture Gallery:-
Mission Of Burma - Koko, London, 22/5/2006

Mission Of Burma - Koko, London, 22/5/2006

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