Concert Review: Fuck Buttons, May 19th, Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto – I had no idea who Fuck Buttons were before a week ago, when a friend told me she was going to see them and said they were “awesome”. I made a mental note in my mind about the band and looked it up on Sunday. Fuck Buttons is a two piece electronic/noise band from Bristol and well, pitchfork loves them. Look at the rating for each of their two albums:

Tarot Sport – 9.0
Street Horrrsing – 8.6

9.0 and 8.6! Those numbers are unheard of in the Pitchfork universe. Thom Yorke could make an album with Animal Collective and it wouldn’t even reach those numbers. I decided to attend the show after a quick consultation with Panic Manual writer Paul, who was thinking of checking them out. He decided to go to Buzzcocks instead though.

I decided to go to the concert without listening to any of their material. It’s pretty rare for me to not listen to a band before I go to a show, that’s usually reserved for local music, but I was feeling particularly lazy that day so I figure why not?

This concert can be divided into two groups: those with earplugs and those without.

If you did not have earplugs: This concert was probably pretty painful for you. The band was extremely loud and you were probably one of those people making emergency earplugs out of tissue paper. Next time, bring ear plugs

If you did have earplugs?:
This concert was definitely interesting. I was surprised that an electronic band would play the Horseshoe Tavern. Call it marketing or whatever, but I am under the assumption now that all small electronic shows are going to be played at the Wrongbar from now on. It seems suitable, they have nice lights, a decent dance floor space and a smoke system. I’ve always reserved the Horseshoe for dirty rock and roll bands.

Listening to the Fuck Buttons play, I can understand why they chose the Horseshoe. They aren’t about the lights and the glamour. They aren’t about slick productions or fancy samples. They are about noise. Nitty gritty noise. To me, this band is about finding bits of melody and hope in the sea of chaos they create with high levels of distortion, reverb and just plain noise. There are definitely shades of My Bloody Valentine in their set, and maybe a dabble of Mogwai as well. The music is slightly abrasive and the pacing is not traditional. I am used to electronic shows where the buildup is obvious and the payoff is dramatic, but the Fuck Buttons provided little of that. Changes were abrupt and it was difficult to anticipate when the next change in noise/beats were. I guess it made you focus on the music quite a bit more then normal. At times, Benjamin John Power would leave his electronic devices to bang on the drums, but other then that there was no interaction with the audience.

Mostly, the music seems perfect for those nights when you are heading home after a late party, slightly drunk, slightly disjointed and you see those light blue tones in the sky and all around you reminding you that the next day is about to begin and the sun is about to rise.

Some of the darker/abrasive/industrial-ish songs also seems perfect for those clubs you see in those post-apocalyptic movies, where everything is dark and dingy and everyone is dirty and wearing makeshift armor. The Horseshoe was almost pure dark with the exception of four dimly lit stage lights, it set the tone for the show. I was ready to go fight some zombies afterwards.

Overall it was a fairly decent show. The place was about 2/3 full and people were generally confused as to whether to dance or head bob. The band played for slightly over an hour, ending the show with an abruptness that left the crowd in a bit of a daze. It only seemed fitting. A Fuck Buttons show seems like one where you just stand there and absorb the onslaught of sound. Processing will commence afterwards.

Fuck Buttons – Surf Solar by Robogeisha

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Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

4 Responses to Concert Review: Fuck Buttons, May 19th, Horseshoe Tavern

  1. Steve

    I still can’t hear anything. DAMN.

  2. Juan Pablo Bermúdez Rey

    Hey, do you know the name of the band that opened for Fuck Buttons?

  3. Ricky

    hounds of hate

  4. freeform23

    Why do I find out about these things after they happen. I love the fuck buttons. My friends in CZ got me into them a while back. Glad the show was good!

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