Colossal Squid | Dextro | Heat Death of the Sun – 26th March 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Review by Jimmy Hutchinson

Tonight’s show was delayed by an ‘unforeseen pottery workshop’. It doesn’t get much more rock ‘n’ roll than that. But this being The Cluny, I opted for a pre-show pint of Blue Moon.

First on was local duo Heat Death of the Sun, whose ‘ambient experimental electronics’ focus on ‘the bleaker aspects of the universe’. Definitely sounds like a Tuesday night to me. They unleashed a distorted drone accompanied by clattering drums while the vidscreen displayed the message ‘Everything you share is a mirage… and you are alone’. While initially interesting, it was a bit aimless, although the set peaked with a rhythmic section before the inevitable noisy conclusion.

Second came Dextro, another local artist, whose ‘In the Crossing’ album was one of the highlights of 2016. Ethereal pads and guitar loops slowly grew into a mournful soundscape accompanied by affecting visuals. The sound of tweeting birds pre-empted an eruption of drums and throbbing arpeggiators. Dextro certainly knows how to structure a set, and is a masterful drummer, while also adept at creating a tangible atmosphere with a guitar and an e-bow. Mesmerising stuff; I look forward to his next studio album.

Headlining tonight was Colossal Squid, a one-man drum act featuring Adam Betts from Three Trapped Tigers. He may not have eight arms, but he certainly manages to keep very busy with two. His Squarepusher affiliation was well on display as the programmed synths kicked in over the frantic beats. Betts has recently been collaborating with vocalists, and his set featured a cameo by AK Patterson. He thanked the appreciative crowd with a cry of ‘Newcastle, you loud bastards!’ Not all of the set was precisely my cup of tea, but then I’ve never got the hang of Tuesdays.

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