• April 12, 2010
  • Health / Chrome Hoof / Zun Zun Egui

  • Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    Published by The Fly

    Connoisseurs of experimental music can usually rely on the Southbank Centre’s annual Ether festival to provide some adventurous programming as the first rays of summer sun begin to bounce off the Thames. This year’s event is particularly strong, with three days dedicated to avant-garde hero Edgard Varèse and an audiovisual performance by the legendary director Chris Cunningham. Yet the most interesting show for many was this intriguing transatlantic triple-whammy. Rarely do three acts of such high quality appear on the same bill.

    Kicking off with an extended jam of unorthodox time signatures and dazzling drum workouts, Zun Zun Egui’s performance is breathtakingly unpredictable. The band propels through an impressive musical union of 60s psychedelia and hi-life riffage; the set’s high point arriving as the joyous harmonies of ‘Chunk & Swirl’ fill the beautiful QEH auditorium.

    With a line-up comprised of 21 talented performers (tonight including a caped choir of 10), Chrome Hoof’s collective musicianship is nothing short of breathtaking. Peddling a fearsome brew of metal, electro, funk and full-on prog, this combination of genres and musicians could be a horrifying mess in the hands of lesser players, yet Chrome Hoof’s set creates both a huge sound and a true visual spectacle. It’s an incredible performance, utterly thrilling from beginning to end.

    As the excitable audience exit the main hall, LA art-noise crew Health kick off straight away in the venue’s foyer area. And it’s loud. The kind of loud where reluctantly-attending nervous partners appear to be suffering extreme discomfort with fingers firmly in ears. Fortunately, the band’s trademark staccato guitar sequences and beautifully-layered ethereal vocals are still very much present and correct, making for an exhilarating and absorbing wall of sound.