LIVE REVIEW: BRAVE EXHIBITIONS – Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Warmduscher, AJA, Big Lad, Luminous Bodies, Melting Hand, Dorcha, Cattle, Godspeed you! Peter Andre, Grave Goods, The Dawdler @ The Cluny/Cluny 2, Newcastle (16.11.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: The Dawdler by Adam Littlemore

It’s an impressive crowd gathered in The Cluny’s main room early doors for The Dawdler’s opening set, and with good reason: playing material from this year’s Keith In Ballachuish as well as it’s in the works follow-up, this is delicate, thoughtful and beautiful balladry that occasionally lets slip a glimpse of the iron fist lurking within the velvet glove.

There’s a host of wonderfully noisy delights across the afternoon’s sets – the alternately tense and sensuous post-punk of Grave Goods, the escalating electronic freak-out of Godspeed You! Peter Andre, the wall of percussion of Cattle’s set – but special praise must go to Dorcha, whose bizarre and brilliant amalgamation of folk, jazz, avant-rock and oddball punk must be seen to be believed, and a ferocious, fiery psych rock dosage from the fantastic Melting Hand.

If there was any doubts that Saturday night was going to be party night, Luminous Bodies swiftly paid rest to these: an alternatively worshipful and brutally mocking set of amped up rock thrills, their ridiculous live show is matched only by their absurd and joyous songwriting. Big Lad keep the wave going with an intense set of live breakcore mayhem (closing out with a full-on gabba blast: give that poor drummer a medal) before AJA brings a suitably intense set of neon-hued noise to close the Cluny 2 line-up: alternately punishing overflowing enthusiasm and passion, AJA tracks a scorched earth path to euphoria that may be one of the country’s most essential live experience right now. Less essential is Warmduscher’s set: their combination of flaccid pseudo-disco and entirely unwelcome quasi-ironic sexism is a rare blot on the Brave Exhibitions copybook.

Tonight however was always going to belong to Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, and this is a suitably assured and confident homecoming in front of a sold out Cluny crowd: they may be an unlikely success story, but their amalgamation of doom metal bona fides with a rare melodic sensibility (plus some outstanding showmanship from frontman Matthew Baty) could be a world conquering combination.

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