We arrived early on and with enough time to witness the opening band, The Oscillation. Hailing from Walthamstow, the four piece shimmied through a humble set of post-punk numbers, tight and restrained as they were. All told, the group held a tight groove and boasted a warm sound. Held together by keyboard drones and a shirking bass, their songs clearly held a power and this seemed to come to a crescendo as their brief set closed up. Indeed, their bandcamp page has provided much in the way of good listens a day after.
And then, to a small but eager crowd, Disappears gathered their equipment and launched headfirst into opening number 'Magics', from their debut LP 'Lux'. Released on the continually brilliant label Kranky, Disappears debut is an unashamedly raw 30 minutes of rock music, the kind you could jam to at 4 am with friends. Here, detail is insignificant- drowned out almost by a wave of chainsaw-esq guitars and pounded drums. On vocals, Brian Case barked in calls and yelps, unrepeatable expressions and croons- his voice beautifully obscured with echo and reverb. The overall effect is one of driven imprecision, intoxicated and seductive. Disappears beseech you not to enjoy it. To those friends who I have played their album in recent weeks and who remarked that the band 'aren't doing anything new'- this motion misses the point entirely. If Disappears's music is an indulgence, then so be it- some things can be unpretentious and still artful. And few bands these days seem capable of merely playing for joy, I recall seeing Fang Island some months ago and remarking what a rare opportunity for crowd high fiving it was. Similarly, and perhaps more appropriately, New York's Oneida seem inflicted with the sheer thrill of making sound, loud, rhythmic, crass and punk rock.
In the course of the 40 minutes the band spent on stage with us, Disappears tore through numbers from their two albums with pace and vigour - the songs taking on a real power in the room, as the reverb and feedback from the end of one piece became the beginning of the next track. The band were tight and controlled, allowing the strength of their songs to drive the concert's momentum. And whilst I could reflect on how the band could easily have performed in a larger venue, to more people - it is a treat to witness a group like this playing to a crowd there deliberately. If and when they do revisit these shores, it will be to a larger audience- and they'll probably play in exactly the same manner. Bold, assured, meditative and engrossed in their own music making. It seems completely marvelous to me.
First published in the405.