400 Blows, Free Moral Agents, LabwasteThe Echo, January 6
Near chaos on the second of two showcase nights from the Gold Standard Laboratories label. This is an imprint for artists who dance on the edge, and sometimes, yeah, they fall over.
Labwaste is an MC in a hard hat and another MC with explosive hair a hard hat wouldn’t fit over, switching off raps whilst jiggering their loop boxes. Let it not be said that their beats are standard — borderline arrhythmic in fact, with relation to vocals sometimes mystically nonspecific. They sounded best just burping noise.
Noise/echo washes also heralded the greatest glory of Free Moral Agents, as main keysman Ikey Owens (also of the Mars Volta) jammed the stage with some 11 celebrants — more in this case being definitely less. The funk grooves, intense at times, mostly slopped; that little dark-haired woman crystallized the tightest focus when she spieled away Arab-style on her violin. Another studio project lost at sea onstage.
Cops from punkland, 400 Blows effectively assaulted us with their Fear-ful battery. Singer Skot thrashed and goofed; guitarist Christian broadcast his borderline metal riffs via the densest guitar sound ever cranked, no bass needed. Sweat, you bet.