Dom Vito, SCMB, Drie Dieren, CAB03, Leiden 15/3/13

Things eventually got delirious, and people – shaking, giddy, laughing along didn’t want to let them go, despite the room throbbing and shaking to this crisp, unforgiving white noise.


I like CAB03; gigs there are intense affairs, often humid, in yer face and loud. Very loud. That’s the main selling point for me, in that the nature of the venue (it’s a large rehearsal space) means that bands, if they so wish, can let rip without worrying about the levels. Tonight was a case where we had three degrees of “loud”, and where we saw a ratcheting up of the density of the noise to the end where Dom Vito, (their tee-shirts do boast the slogan “ears are for ringing”), decided to shred us with their Leipzig-forged, precision punk.

But first it was time for some local action. Two Leiden bands stood on the bill, both fine acts and very much favourites of this magazine. First up were Drie Dieren, (drums, keyboards guitar / elephant, rabbit, tiger) whose small knot of fans inspire such devotion that little sewn dolls (of each member, dressed in their animal suits) were for sale on the merch table. Made by the very fans you’d expect to buy such things. This is potentially heavy stuff…

DD play a sort of spaced out jazzy prog; the jazz elements being snaky, loose and menacing, but more like (if you can imagine such a conceit) a drugged up Coltrane grooving through a part on the Church of Anthrax  rather than any academic dry wank. I’ve seen the band three or four times and each time they grow on me: at first it was very difficult to (literally) see past the costumes but their music has presence and wit.  There are also subtleties in their long drawn out tracks, driven mainly by Leo’s drumming which allows and, at times, encourages the trippy keys and abstract, shifting guitar runs the space to shine.  Further encouragement is provided by the keyboardist who shouts “Ja, ja, de Drie Dieren!” market trader style, between each track.

Following that were Sugar Coated Mind Bombs, who returned after far too long away to entertain us. The last time we saw them in the SUB071 they gave a shattering, bombastic, and very angry gig; the place shaking to their unearthly rumble. This time things were more considered, more concerned with exploring rhythms and the resultant textures and counter beats that ensued. It was actually a softer, more sensual gig, despite the tracks boasting stronger, more recognisable beats. As usual their music is conjured up from a sort of unspoken, on the spot agreement on what kind of noise to make: a track’s mood is very much subject how Martin and Michel feel at that moment. And in that their noise is incredibly organic, and not something that can be relied on. The audience just have to get in the mood, go with it. Of course, this wasn’t difficult with a sympathetic audience talking in what has been one of the more inspiring live acts Leiden has spawned this last decade or so.  This gig was one where people nodded along with appreciatively, enjoyed this mercurial, witty and almost feminine take on the noise rock oeuvre.

After this was a complete change again: and with the arrival of Dom Vito to the stage a feeling that the pressure had been turned up a notch, a feeling that we were inside a pressure cooker. The band (an aesthetic / “industrial” looking three piece) smashed a high precision racket that turned on the veritable sixpence, the set exploding into life at the most unforeseen moment. Dom Vito was at times like a machine, well drilled, well-oiled and as such one that the audience had no option but to surrender to: they didn’t invite you in to share the mood around like the Dieren and the Mind Bombs. But this gig was also driven by a real joie de vivre, the band yelping and laughing, or shouting and screaming through the set, as if to further drive the music along. Things eventually got delirious, and people – shaking, giddy, laughing along didn’t want to let them go, despite the room throbbing and shaking to this crisp, unforgiving white noise. A couple of encores and things finally ended (by this stage we were like jelly, our DNArearranged by the noise) and we walked out, ears ringing, into the cold night.