Matt Dalby wrote about the gig,
I’m not sure if this was the last time I’ll see Womb play before I head off to China in three weeks. If it is it was a good one. Perhaps not quite at the same level as the Kraak gig, but fucking excellent nonetheless.
With a smaller lineup than recently it was always likely to be a slightly different dynamic and sound. Here it was Fiona on drums, Genette on Pianophone, percussion and voice, Helen on keyboards and voice, Jen on guitar, percussion and voice, and Whitney on bass and voice.
The venue was a small and intimate basement room with seating for fewer than a dozen and floor sitting/standing room for about 20 if they got pretty close. When the band started I was still sat down and somewhat boxed in so I wasn’t able to join Sadie as one of the few people dancing initially. Then someone came and sat between my legs – which meant I was stuck there a little longer.
The group started out in recently familiar territory – what you might describe as doomy churning with excellent beats. From there the sound shifted with the chiming of singing bowls and other percussion, and voices adding texture. While bass and keys provided some additional structure and melody, guitar and voices ducked and interwove, mutating the colours and pulling the music in different directions.
Eventually, disgracefully, the crowd thinned out a little, which meant the person sat between my legs could move somewhere more comfortable for them. That in turn meant I could get up and dance. Like I said, disgraceful. If it meant more people could have seen or heard the group I’d have been happy to be pinned against one of the walls [insert your own filthy joke here].
So dance I did for a little until the band stopped. People applauded and then after a brief discussion the band started again, and the dancing started again. Still fewer people which was a shame, but it was an after party with a variety of spaces and different things going on, so a different dynamic from a gig. Also Womb were going on pretty late – somewhere close to 1am.
The sound transformed again in the second half. While the drums provided the rhythmic foundation the other sounds became predominantly more abstract. Sound textures and patterns rather than more conventional melodies and structures. Even more than the first half the actual sounds were explored for their own sake rather than pressed into a preformed idea of how they should be structured.
It was really quite minimal and abstract – in case there’s any doubt I think this is a good thing. As usual there will be a recording going up at some time soon – which will no doubt sound completely different from what I’ve described.
A wonderful performance – if it had been a more normal gig at a more conventional venue the band would have stormed the place. They were – as you’d expect from a mainly subterranean, brick-lined, low-ceilinged, small room – pretty fucking loud. I think that meant that even more than previous acts they could be heard through a lot of the house.
It’s a shame I may not get to see the band again until March next year or maybe later. I’m going to miss them.