LIVE REVIEW: Yuko Araki @ The Lubber Fiend, Newcastle (15.11.23) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Victoria Wai

Smoke and blue light fills the air as we ascend the stairs up to The Lubber Fiend. As I tug the door open, I expect to be met with a scene of religious contemplation, but instead a man in a BOVRIL t-shirt – otherwise known as Drooping Finger – plays electronic field sounds. There aren’t many people here, maybe a dozen, so we sit on the floor and watch the tadpoles of blue spotlight. It’s very meditative and the ambient clanging sends me into a dream. Before I know it, the second support act is on. For a gig this small, having two supports is spoilt. Harvey Parkin-Christie & Hinrik Þórisson are less strong but equally eclectic – a saxophonist and drummer play discordant, feverish jazz that ascends into frenzied delirium. It goes on a bit, but I applaud their ability to play the saxophone and clarinet simultaneously. 

When Yuko Araki emerges onto the stage she is equipped with her terrifying Eurorack entombed in thick wires. Elegantly poised and self-assured, she speaks little during her set, letting the post-industrial noise music do the talking. The sound is mesmerising and embodies her musical journey from metal to playful psychedelia and dark wave electronica. Samples of distorted chanting and electronica transport me to the engine of a dystopian church. The smoke machine continues to blast, so that I can’t see anything in front of me. At the end of the set, Yuko simply says thank you and departs the stage. And I stumble out onto the streets, entirely converted.  

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