Memory Foam and Na Noise opened for Wax Chattels at Auckland's Whammy Bar last Friday night for the release of Chattel's latest release, No Ties.
Memory Foam delivered a spiky, sonically chunky set; I was drawn in particular to the guitar, which occupied an incredible metallic dissonance and odd funk. This set was more of a straight punk sound to their last with less sonic space, but it was still very good; they're a sharp, potent band who always play with childlike energy and sensual groove.
Great musicians who convey a sense of anarchic fun, I recommend you get out of the house and go see their oddball stoner punk in the flesh.
Na Noise delivered a set of subtly strange pop songs yearning with melancholy. The interplay between guitar and bass was just astounding, perfectly precise and still utilising real artistic imagination. The songs themselves were witty and elusive, and very beautifully structured. The guitarist was truly formidable, sending careful and expressive passages into a chasm of reverb while the bassist churned hypnotic, stop-start grooves that also seemed to sing with melancholy.
All this was accompanied by a drum machine which was a strange and unique addition that conveyed the distanced quality of the songs, sad and slightly cold. Their vocal harmonising was great and each song was a new creation.
Wax Chattels were firing on all cylinders, playing evenly from their self-titled first album and from their soon-to-be-released album, Clot. The band, at their best, created a deep channel of sound that could really pulverise, releasing the crowd in a great orgiastic mosh.
Singer and organist Peter Ruddell stalked the stage with a look of strained paranoia, howling bleak and unexpectedly literate paeans to urban alienation and nihilism, conjuring the darkness of consciousness like a series of hexes.
Bassist Amanda Cheng unearthing walls of bleak texture; freezing, monolithic waves of sound bleeding through the crowd while drummer Tom Leggett held it all together with incredible rhythmic creativity, utilising his jazz school chops with rare taste.
They were totally immersed in their music and delivered it with an unyielding abrasiveness. A unique band much larger than the sum of their parts, often bringing to mind the aggressive theatricality of the No Wave scene, especially James Chance's stage presence and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks' stop-start high-range abrasiveness, but of course, Wax Chattels couldn't be accused of imitation. They create current music relevant to today's psychic condition, and that is why they got such a positive response.
Radio 13 thanks and credits Chontalle Musson for all images in this article.