The first time one noticed how super-keen on 65daysofstatic their fans are, and how deserved this fierce following is (real fans are called the 65kids – it says so on the internet), was during the quiet “Burial Scene”, a mid-set monochrome-yet-twinkling piano slow-burner from their Silent Running LP that sounds a bit like a photograph of Mogwai (QRO live review) dressed like cowboys and riding horses into the sunset would look and is truly beautiful. During the many pauses in the song’s cadence and flow, there were no fuckers talking at the bar. It was silent. Even if you’ve been to a fair few gigs before, you’ve never been that close to a bar (particularly in London) where no one is talking and everyone is listening. That the band commanded such reverence on Tuesday, April 10th, at Relentless Garage, from the haircuts at the back of the venue during a ‘slow one’ from a ‘soundtrack album’ speaks volumes. Pretty sure that towards the end of the song’s build, the whoosh noise was the crowd holding their breath.
Maybe they were to blow out the candles, for this was lovely record label Monotreme’s tenth birthday. First there were a couple of turns from the mildly worthy, but also moderately groove-some supports (‘groove-some’ here as in, “Look at that projection of a black and white film with projected quotes like ‘And thus the cleric dwindled’,” not, “Shake your hips and get your sex on,” – both bands were stoic and interested in rock and post, although not in that order). Then 65daysofstatic popped up and rampaged through four tunes from We Were Exploding Anyway and the night went bat-shit brilliant.
Always a smashing live band, their current set list is basically like how one thought techno should sound like when all that one listened to was Nirvana and The Cure. “Piano Fights” opened and sounded like what it’s called, “Crash Tactics” and its cheeky Prodigy-aping drumrolls followed and then all the band hit drums a lot for “Dance Dance Dance” before wheeling into “Weak 4″, all Chemical’s tease and delivery with its brash, ‘80s metal guitar line. Two things to note at this point – these songs sound fairly similar, so your correspondent may have got the order wrong, and the band play their music very, very well. There is a flair and a passion, and a physicality to what 65days do, whether it’s the aforementioned drummery or wheeling across the keyboards that are now as responsible for the band’s sound as their guitars are. Best of all is when man-in-the-middle Paul Wolinski’s right arm dances, veering from raised fist to punching the air with the drumbeat and crashing down into his guitar, to bizarre meat swan clucking in time with the trailing micro-smashes of the music.
It’s not all ‘Music Like What The Internet Would Make If It Was a Metal Unicorn Fighting Aliens In The Future’, though (a phrase you correspondent made up to avoid ‘post-techno’, which may not have be succinct enough with hindsight). As mentioned, “Burial Scene” and the sinister, rippling call and response of “Debutante” were mid-paced moments of comparative calm and older tracks like “Retreat! Retreat!” and “Radio Protector” were both clearly cherished by the hard-core at the front and fit comfortably alongside the newer material. If anything, you can hear in these earlier tracks the seeds of what the band would grow into.
Nothing bettered the encore for proving this outright. The last track on We Were Exploding Anyway, “Tiger Lady”, played live is a proper banger, joyous and incremental in its celebratory thumps and propulsive fizzes and as an encore it only served to emphasise what the band are capable of at their thrilling best: Hundreds of tiny heartbeats clattering to a simple 4/4 riff that is ornamented and engineered by the band into something quite magical. Christ knows what they’ll sound like in another ten years, here’s to finding out.