Humans, as a species, are riddled with irrational fear, ranging from the obvious (falling from heights, death, drowning) to the ridiculous (spiders and buttons). The next time they do a survey to see what gets the nation anxious, they should check for charity workers lurking around city centres, asking if they could have a minute of your time. Even the thought of them is enough to induce a small panic attack – the juxtaposition of wanting help out whilst having no money is enough to make anyone crash.
Sometimes, helping out is made easy for you, though. The contact Theatre isn’t the most obvious venue for a gig, but that’s the very same reason it’s a perfect fit for what CTRL+ALT+SHIFT magazine are trying to do. In support of their ‘Art of Corruption’ edition, they sought the help of the amazing Mind on Fire to create a truly unique night.
Whilst going to a gig is usually a passive event, it’s refreshing to see that there’s actually effort made to engage with the audience rather than simply lecture to them, ranging from the live art being put on by the Oneeightfive collective to giving out postcards to decorate with the an interpretation of the word ‘corruption’ (which are now on their way to Kenya to petition a politician for change in the country), it’s obvious that this is more than an exercise in self-righteousness.
With live music from The Breadwinners and In The Loop to warm up a boisterous audience, its headliners Nedry that really get the crowd enthused. Having recently had their debut album re-released through Monotreme records, the hype machine has slowly been clicking into gear about the three-piece. In the flesh, it’s obvious why they’ve been whipping tastemakers like Radio 1’s Huw Stephens into such a frenzy.
Played to the backdrop of a series of CTRL+ALT+SHIFT shorts on the screen behind them, they play what could easily pass as a greatest hits set, such is the depth of quality of the tracks they’ve already produced. Though the genre is famed for its wobble bassline, it’s one that the band only use sparingly, but when they do it’s to shockingly great effect, notably in ‘Apples & Pears’ which truly gets the kids at the front moving. It’s a sound that could work by itself, but Ayu’s swooning vocals turn something great into a sound that’s truly breathtaking, whilst Matt and Chris swap duties between fiddling with knobs, messing around on iMacs and, most impressively, live layering with guitars.
With a sound that’s so utterly filled with space, shadowing and breakdown, there could scarcely be a more fitting band to take on the concept of corruption whilst retaining a degree of subtlety. There have been many attempts to make doing good seem cool over the years, but few have ever been as successful as what CTRL+ALT+SHIFT continually manage to achieve.
NEDRY – A42 [download from Monotreme]