Sunday, 3 February 2013

ILL @ Fuel Cafe, 20.01.13

“Anyone from the last band fancy a game of spin the bottle?” That’s one attention grabbing way of opening a set. That question was thrown out by one of the five female members of ILL, who are taking part in the first birthday celebrations of the Umbrella Music Group at Fuel.

The set begins with a dense mix of sounds, keyboards, drums, guitars and standalone cymbal creating a seemingly hypnotic, steadily increasing rhythm. The person on her hands and knees is not someone checking for any dodgy cable connections, but is actually Rosanne Robertson, a member of the band who is brushing a microphone around the circumference of the cymbal. It’s safe to say that ILL are not a typical band in that the sound at each performance will always be different, although they will have a structure within which to construct their works.

There seems to be a purpose for everything around the stage area including the cymbal, a large ball bearing and a saw. The saw? There is a German band, Einstürzende Neubauten, who had their moment in the spotlight in the 90s but are still recording today, who are noted for their use of industrial equipment, even pneumatic drills, to create sounds. At the more junior entry level to such artistry, a saw is introduced by Robertson, who slowly draws it across the aforementioned cymbal, adding a sharp feel. It's not a junior hacksaw that one would use for a spot of DIY but one that could have a supporting role in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This one appears blood-free, although that may be by good fortune than intent.

Dense and uncompromising, the focus appears to be on the feel of the music rather than the lyrical sensitivity with shouted words or phrases being the preferred mode of vocal expression, such as: “I want it now!”

Nobody is quite sure when the set has finished, but it all seems to go down well with the crowd tonight, so much so that they want more. Unfortunately, after a short and intense set they don’t have any more songs readily at hand.

Hmmm. That only leaves the question of why the red shoe has been deliberately left atop of the speaker. Is Cinderella in the house?

As ILL announce when they depart, “We are ILL. We wish you well.”

Words & Photography: Ged Camera.

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