A Place to Bury Strangers at The Bodega, Nottingham, England, May 1, 2019 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

A Place to Bury Strangers

A Place to Bury Strangers at The Bodega, Nottingham, England, May 1, 2019,

May 08, 2019 Photography by Dom Gourlay Web Exclusive
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It might be over a decade (May 2008 to be exact) since A Place to Bury Strangers first unleashed their brutally uncompromising show on the city of Nottingham. Yet every subsequent visit has not only seen previous converts return, but also attracted a host of new devotees in the process. Tonight's visit is their fourth to both Nottingham and the Bodega, which highlights the affinity the Brooklyn trio have attached with the city since that very first show.

Bristol four-piece Spectres boast a similar lineage with the city, having also played here four times over the past six years. Albeit not in the same venue. Having spent seven hours in a Birmingham car park the previous evening it's a miracle they're even here at all, fellow Bristolians Scalping and their trusty van coming to the rescue. With two critically acclaimed albums released on the esteemed Sonic Cathedral imprint and a third long player imminent, tonight provides a perfect opportunity for them to showcase new material.

Not that Spectres' back catalogue is anything but peerless in itself. Founder members Joe Hatt, Adrian Dutt, and Andy Came cut imposing figures alongside more recently acquired bass player Dom Mitchison and the barrage of noise they emit as a unit could raise ceilings never mind goosebumps. Of the three brand new songs they play this evening, all dispatched at the start of the set, it's the relentless surge of opener "Sociopath Discotheque" and discordantly opaque "I Was An Abattoir" that purposefully stand out. Sandwiched in between and slightly raw by comparison, "Adipocere Jigsaw Compliment" completes the trio of appetite wetters for the next record. While both "This Purgatory" and "Sink" off 2015's Dying prove welcome blasts from the past.

With eardrums already ringing by the time A Place to Bury Strangers take the stage, it doesn't take long for the full perforation effect to set in. While founder member Oliver Ackermann and long-standing musical accomplice Dion Lunadon are a familiar sight, the return of Robi Gonzalez on drums raises a few eyebrows. Back in the fold for their European dates while current drummer Lia Simone Braswell is out on tour with TR/ST.

Opening with "Ego Death," one of four songs played tonight off 2009's Exploding Head. It's clear the trio mean business from the outset. Strobe lights flash incessantly behind them as the song builds to an almighty crescendo, the animated figures of both Ackermann and Lunadon looming menacingly in the smoke filled haze. Indeed, it's probably fair to say this is the closest you'll get to witnessing A Place to Bury Strangers play a greatest hits set of sorts.

2012's Worship also finds itself heavily represented, which means the likes of "You Are the One" and "Why I Can't Cry Anymore" add a motorik element to proceedings before the all out sonic attacks of "Fear" and "Alone" take it up another notch. 

One of the reasons A Place to Bury Strangers are still held in such high regard is their continued willingness to experiment and implement new angles to their sonic palette. In more recent years they've added an electronic element to their relentless pedal-infused melange of shoegaze, psychedelia, and punk rock, so their midset sojourn into that genre's darkest recesses turned the Bodega into The Batcave circa 1982 for 15 adrenalin fuelled minutes. All three band members make their way around the floor out front for two numbers that sees the audience crowd around before returning to the stage for the final part of the set.

Ending on an explosive "I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart," Ackermann's guitar amplified intermittently at regular intervals. It's a mesmerizing spectacle and one that reaffirms A Place to Bury Strangers as one of the most important bands of their generation. Here's to that continuing long into the future.

www.aplacetoburystrangers.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/aplacetoburystrangers/

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PeakyBoy
May 25th 2019
6:51am

Perfectly right caption and they’re the best.