Live Review: The Ex /Stig Noise Mmx /Zun Zun Egui @ The Kazimier

Posted on 8 February 2010
By Amy Roberts
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Stig Noise MMX frontman Jacob is pacing about excitedly before yelping out at the already buzzing crowd ‘I can’t remember the last time The Ex played England, nevermind Liverpool’, he grins a wide coat-hanger grin which is mirrored back by the hollering, fervent crowd who’ve hungrily gathered in The Kazimier for the monumental occasion.

The set erupts into the finely tuned discordance for which Stig are consistently celebrated for. A melodic anarchy of brass, throaty lyricism, and killer onslaughts of bass, drum and guitar that never once veer far from perfection.

Each song is decadence – an irresistible array of limb twitching, unpredictable and mediated psychosis punctuated by the occasional spoken word vocal, dual drum finale and sumptuous tentative build ups of pace and noise that explode into a fever of hot tempered noise.

If this is the foreplay, you think to yourself, then fuck-help me when the main flesh scabblers finally arrive to headline later.

Second act, Zun Zun Egui are a little less exciting. Initially, they’re fucking outstanding – an audacious blend of the tropical, the tribal, experimental and downright doomsy. They begin songs down one path and without warning divert, screeching and attentively, down another totally subverting their own sound and the crowds expectations of it. But the formula wears a little thin and samey three songs into the set, and what was fresh and exciting to begin with becomes commonplace and predictable.

The frontman is charming and enthusiastic enough, shimmying, grinding and thrashing himself about the stage and the audience with enough energy to bring on an early Springtime, but his fellow bassist looks more than a little pissed off throughout the entire set, huffing and puffing after each song with the brattish expression of a young boy who missed his afternoon nap and didn’t get a biscuit with his glass of milk that evening.

But still, their sound is exactly what the audience is craving – the beats are heavy and the bustling bodies are busting out spazz-o-matic moves sponsered by Give A Shit How Stupid This Looks, I Gotsta Dance!

And then ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod – an entire ETERNITY passes before The Ex & Brass Unbound take to the stage, tune up, plug in and begin what is without a doubt one of the best live shows The Kazimier, and even possibly Liverpool, has ever witnessed.

That’s no exaggeration either. It’s so good that the vocabulary hasn’t been invented yet with which to do a review of them justice.

Featuring a line up of eight members (including 5 on brass), the post-punk no-wave legends are remarkable from the get-go. A flawless and dissonantly brooding performance off-set with shimmers of the jaunty and the relentlessly jazzy. Sweet Christ is it good. The vibe in the entire theatre is electric – the room awash with uncontrollable sweeping movement and spacious unbelieving smiles that will leave faces aching for hours afterwards.

Songs span intricately and incessantly, managing to explore songs within songs – the whole band looks ecstatic, and when you consider that this is a band that’s been around for about 30 years now, is a comforting and heart-warming thing to witness.

Their set develops an extensive range of genres, all played with a forcefulness that makes you bite your lip with such rapture that you might require stitches afterwards. Songs begin on triumphant, opulent levels and descend into a cacophony of debauched, poetic spewed noise.

A version of Hungarian folksong Hidegen Fujnak A Szelek is a perfect example of all this – seeing drummer Katherina Bornefeld take to the vocals, cow bell in hand, and create a sublime din of re-worked, idiosyncratic genius. A song which is by equal turns jubilant and disquiet at once.

Onstage camaraderie is big, the band beam at each other and are playful with the performance, hitting drum machine sampler buttons with guitar heads in sync, taking the piss out of the member of the brass band who dares climb up onto the above stage stage of the Kazimier to belt out a plunger muffled power bleat and at the some of the dancing going on in the crowd before them.

The band thankfully return for two encores – the highly desperate ear splitting screaming that follows their absenting of the stage leaves them with little choice – of unpredictable dance heavy joy. They end with a brass off which sees two of the brass band trying to tunefully outdo each other before crumbling into a myriad of onstage giggles.

Awesome – awesome – awesome. There just aren’t the words or the online space available to fully credit the gig with the praise it needs.

Put it this way, if you missed this gig you’re an absolute bloody fool. Simple as.

The Ex Official Site:

Stig Noise Mmx Myspace:

Zun Zun Egui: