Live review: Citizens, Attack of the Mad Axe-Men, Fat Janitor at 13th Note, 25/10/11

Fat Janitor, a punk/hardcore influenced four-piece use somewhat iconoclastic (for the genre) modern technology to supplement their sound and manage to impact the audience almost immediately with a stark and heavy sound.

Tracks such as ‘Bonkers Bruno goes Berserk’, a jovial reference to the caricatured boxer’s psychotic breakdown, pay no heed to the idea of a necessary relationship between title and content.

This kind of discord is refreshing and I am certainly a fan of intermittent scoffing at Punk and post-hardcore’s supercilious hegemony.

As with a lot of ‘heavier’ music within this and other similar forms there is sometimes too great an emphasis placed on crash/splash/ride cymbals to drive the beat, often making the sound akin to massively amplified trolley crashes at some desolate supermarket.

However, all said this is an intense and enjoyable expression of noise.

Next are Attack of the Mad Axe-Men (apparently a moniker of Jackie Onassis), who continue in similar loose, humorous and impactful style.

There is some depth to the vocal performance that screams its way to harmony and melody, transmitting enjoyment and connecting with the crowd.

Such connection is taken yet further, possibly influenced by the lead singer’s Buckfast and total-nudity ‘aesthetic’, which is something of a dubious pleasure for most members of the crowd.

However, such behavior and performance is nothing if not engaging and pulls the whole thing together when contrasted with the raging sounds.

With the feel of the night set, headliners Citizens come to the fore, promising a deeper journey into the sound and tempos of this multi-influenced genre.

Immediately the musical product is improved greatly with a fantastic interplay between all three instruments; bass, lead/rhythm guitar and drums.

The drums are driven by the kick and floor tom and as such transmit a much fuller range, supporting the intense and physically impactful sound.

There are, at intervals, problems with the mics and this lessens the impact of the supporting rough, energised vocals, seeing the effort and passion being put into expressing the lyrics this is somewhat frustrating.

The intensity of the sound, pitched correctly in the setting of the 13th Note, with engaged and passionate attendees provides a good slice of powerful and emotive music.

Such a gig identifies the fact that music such as this and those more clearly defined forms from which it may be derived, or may aspire to, are essentially impactful, physical and offer authentic inclusion of the audience within the experience, infectious engagement with the music being bombastically initiated by the performers.

Words: Joe Leightley
Photos: Gordon Ballantyne

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