ROBOTS & ELECTRONIC BRAINS

Ligament @ Po Na Na's, Islington, London (01/09/99)

Someone once described Ligament as being 'satisfyingly loud' and that is by far the most accurate description of their music that I've come across. I am beginning to wonder whether there should be emphasis on the second word. Maybe spell it in capital letters. With exclamation marks. And a free CD of concrete being drilled.

Standing next to an amp, I am contemplating the potential benefits of TV subtitles and alternative remedies for tinnitus. Admittedly, Po Na Na's is a small, cavernous place but this must be against Health and Safety laws. There are times, however, when you want your ears to bleed. Too many bands nowadays peddle the same quiet/loud/quiet/etc. formula. Thankfully, Ligament just stick to the various degrees of loud. It's never going to get them anywhere beyond the small but evidently loyal following present here tonight, as this kind of music grates on most people's ears. It is, in fact, is what your mum and dad used to call 'racket'. But listen beyond the noise and you'll hear guitar seductively weaving strange shapes in between the unswerving blocks of noise and some clever rhythm section support. There is no doubt that Ligament is hard work, but it's awesome. Hearing a song like "I want to take you outside" reminds you of why you started listening to music in the first place. It takes me back to my brief but influential love affair with hardcore---it's the same kind of power and intensity, a total assault on your senses. Which is great, if not altogether healthy.

It is amazing that three people can make such a racket. Until you see them, that is. Tim Cedar is built like what is commonly knows as a brick shithouse. You can't help wondering what someone who screams for Ligament and drums for Penthouse is like in 'normal' life. Is it a sign of an angry man? Oddly enough, despite being 6'4'', he manages to look quite gentle. You never know, perhaps he helps old grannies across the road and the local kids call him 'Uncle Tim'. The main attraction, though, must be the drummer---it was worth paying a fiver just to watch him. Hamilton Industries (only in Ligament, surely!) drums like a man possessed, resembling nothing more than an underfed muppet on speed. Sticks keep flying out of his hands and into the audience. The bass player, undeterred, continues playing, while simultaneously doing a proper little hard-core dance. Watch some early 80s videos and you'll know exactly what I mean.

Basically, I love 'em. As a break from all the chin-stroking of adulthood, you could do worse than Ligament. Theirs is the simple sound of loud guitars, too many fags and too much booze. All done with a sense of humour, of course. (Radiant Kovacs)


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