A reformed for one night only Botch.
Two nights ago a band from San Francisco endured awful sound in a half-finished north London venue before a crowd that couldn’t be called entirely polite – background chatter did drown out certain nuances of said band’s singular sound. Yet this band, against the odds, delivered another memorable set, one to rank not among their personal best, but certainly among the best shows this soul shall witness this year.
I can’t truly express what it is about Enablers that gets to me; there’s a rawness to them, a transparent honesty, a fire-eyed desire for exorcism, for catharsis via contortion, musically and physically. There’s sinewy limbs and flared nostrils, broken strings and jaw-dropping percussion, precise and balanced, exquisitely accomplished. There’s a frontman with front, proper; a man whose performance goes beyond lungs to mouth to microphone. Exact words are lost in the fog, but the power. The power is the driver.
There’s age, too: these men are men, not boys playing at being men. They are tour-worn, road-tested, time-readied. Theirs is a sound that is out of step with all fashions, with all trends circular and standalone; theirs is a sound that rolls through my synapses with unnerving regularity, rhythms riding prose designed for paper as well as public address. Rhetoric meets rock and roll, poetry versus punk. Sound and vision blurred in one beautiful cacophonous wash of metallic angst and tender aggression. Each cut a chapter of a tale too wide to be fully realised, to ever have an end.
Night bus slides to the sound of ears ringing, and the 11.49 from London Bridge couldn’t be further from my mind.