Live. Anamanaguchi

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Live. Anamanaguchi.
With. Johnny Foreigner, Axes, AKDK, Sabrepulse and Shirobon.

A twenty-something male turned around his cap in either a fit of mid-nineties skate rebellion or simply to get a better view of the stage. The YOLO Acronym that had adorned this headwear had been altered with safety pins and familiar punk ethos so it now read YOYO. Before we can debate the possible meaning behind this bold statement, the flash of glowsticks and an actual light-up yoyo steal our attention away. Nintendo attire runs rife and the air is thick with anticipation, unknowing and nostalgia. It’s a dangerous cocktail, but one that results in vocal outpourings of appreciation and a rainbow of respect. Chiptune may be a long-running underground phenomenon but this closet genre still has its heroes.  This is Anamanaguchi at The Garage. This is their first ever show in the capital. This is utterly bizarre, but only in the best possible way.

Kicking off an eclectic line-up, Brighton duo, AKDK charge the room with a collision of synth and drums. The resulting carnage is an alternating meander through rolling fields of electronic beauty. It doesn’t stay pleasant for long though as chaotic direction and pop-punk abandon crash this serenity without remorse. It’s dirty, despite the abundance of clean-cut computerisation but AKDK manage to make sense of the murk.

Whatever sense AKDK imparted is quickly absolved by the retro shenanigans of Shirobon and Sabrepulse. With an arsenal of Gameboys, emulators and soundcards sitting alongside the classic DJ equipment both artists lead the room in an energetic trance. Imagine if Super Mario was into raving with, not saving, princesses and you’re halfway there. Shirobon’s set was a genius blend of chirp and pomp; Subtle one moment, ridiculous the next. Sabrepulse threw such nuances to the wind. The abrasive party only let up when Anamanaguchi’s Luke joined him to offer depth and heart to the parade.

Axes are a much more intelligent prospect. Without the pull of a microphone, the band are free to back up the staccato instrumentals with a free-spirited assault of the space. Their music also transforms from a rag-tag blend of math-rock flourish and hardcore snarl into a cohesive voice. There’s no translation, but when the music forces grand expression and taps into such primal emotion, words simply aren’t needed.

Perpetuant outsiders Johnny Foreigner once again find themselves sticking out. While every other band on the bill focuses attention on the instruments, Johnny Foreigner stretch tortured poetry over a rack of noisy rock. Through scuzzy walls of feedback and distorted belonging come songs loaded with such grand ideals that they’re locked in an infinite battle for importance. There may never be a winner but as Johnny Foreigner unveil new songs amidst the classics, it’s clear that this fight is always going to be an entertaining bout.

Anamanaguchi. The name alone is loaded with a wicked sense of fun. It’s apt then, that during their set there isn’t a face in the room that isn’t contorted into a wide-eyed expression of glee, or mouth agape as sensory assault fills the room. From the throwback introduction that samples The Baha Men and Sum 41, Anamanaguchi grab the nostalgia-addled bull by the horns and simply don’t let up.

Backed by video projections, vertical strobes and hologram cubes, Anamanaguchi go above and beyond to create a multi-sensory show that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. As incredible as that is, the music is the real triumph. The songs are so mind-altering that they haunt your sleep. Days later you wake up and their glitching wizardy is darting between your ears without regret. There’s no stopping it. It’s a fantastic curse and endless fantasy.

The four members twist their instruments until they scream with glorious, jarring soundscapes, revealing a genuine technical mastery. The music may be based in the past but it’s never sounded fresher or more relevant. You only live once, but if you miss your chance to see Anamanaguchi live, then it’s not really living.

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~ by justdip on 19/09/2013.

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