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Lightning Bolt - Electric Ballroom, London, 26/11/2015

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 8 / 3 / 2016

Lightning Bolt - Electric Ballroom, London, 26/11/2015


Chris O' Toole watches American noise rock duo Lightning Bolt play a furious set at the Electric Ballroom in London

What’s left to say about Lightning Bolt? For more than a decade they have bestrode noise rock, taking their own inimitable path; mixing equal parts power, precision and technique with flourishes of all out animalistic abandon. In full flow they are unrivalled, fairly beating an audience into blissful submission with their twin drum and bass assault. All this is in evidence this evening at the Electric Ballroom, with drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson whipping the Camden venue, no small space, into a frenzy from the front row to the back. Sadly, however, the days when the duo would break down the fourth wall, setting up their equipment in the middle of the audience, appear to be behind them, with the band arranged in the traditional fashion on stage. Tonight they offer a set largely drawn from this year’s 'Fantasy Empire', their sixth album and first in five years. On the record Lightning Bolt break new ground, most notably by employing hi-fi recording equipment for the first time, but this less than apparent in the live setting. Here power predominates, with Chippendale in particular pummelling his equipment with particular ferocity. Underneath this sonic pandemonium, Gibson offers shard of highly melodic bass, the secret weapon that stops the group from slipping into all out aural assault. Always distorted and frequently intense, he offers melodic embellishments to the frantic drumming, hooking the listener even amid the maelstrom. This is brutal, turbulent music, and not for the fainthearted. But at the same time it is executed with the precision and dexterity of musicians who have honed their graft over countless live performances. They have shaped their chaos to create beautiful noise through the use of dynamics, melody, and rhythm. A sight and sound that is a wonder to behold.

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Lightning Bolt - Electric Ballroom, London, 26/11/2015

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