05.08.2010, Words by Charlie Jones

No Age (The Grosvenor, 2nd August)

“Wow! How do they do that?” goes guy to my left. He’s got a point. Adjust your set. No Age are in town for a secret show at South London pub The Grosvenor. And they’re far more than the simple tag of Lo-Fi can handle.

Just check out the way ‘Teen Creeps’ twists and unfolds. No inexpert fumbling here, but very deliberately executed noise. And noise isn’t the whole story anyway. Bobby Gillespie once described Primal Scream’s songs as “sugar-coated bullets”, a phrase which fits No Age rather well. Feisty, hard-hitting pop. It’s about immediacy. The rush. The instant and the intensity. Mix this with intervals of hypnotic, time to catch your breath now, distorted sound, and they’ve hit upon the perfect rise and fall structure. Tension and explosion balanced in a musical Pythagoras theorem.

But it’s not clinical. They’re far too much fun for that. The whole performance could come with the subtitle “we just, like, luuurrrvvve this, man!” Liberating, ramshackle joie de vivre you’ve just got to give in to. Randy is pulling guitar god shapes (ironically, of course), and the drums are undergoing a one-man blitz courtesy of Mr. Dean Spunt. Bam! ‘Miner’, Nouns scrappy opening track kicks in with added muscle. And look out! it’s ‘Sleeper Hold’, coming straight at you, raging bull in a china shop style. It’s chaos, basically, but the mounting body claustrophobia is no hindrance, it’s a catalyst. They could play the big shows, but you get the sense they need this. Just occasionally. In a sweaty pub, and with devotees like this, no barriers, no obvious signs of security, playing live becomes a contact sport. And both audience and band are relishing the fact that, for tonight at least, they run this show and get to fend for themselves.

By the end the whole thing is a mess. The band are sharing the stage with what was most of the front two rows, crowd surfers are rising up and being knocked down in quick succession, people are standing on chairs, tables, each other, anything, to get a better view. “Gaaawwd! It’s hot here!” drawls Spunt, clearly delighted. On fire more like.


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