Dry ice pours into the Belgrave Music Hall in early anticipation of A Place to Bury Strangers’ aural assault.
But the billowing clouds of sweet-smelling glycerol fog are the only pleasant thing about the sensory barrage Leeds is about to come under, forming a canvas onto which strobing abstractions are projected to make this performance as disorientating for the eyes as it is the ears.
Downstairs, homemade pizza is being enjoyed to a soundtrack of mellow jazz, while upstairs the New York three-piece are creating some of the harshest post-punk noise imaginable. The discordant kaleidoscope of ‘We’ve Come So Far’ serves as a breathtaking opener – almost unrecognisable from the album version through the distorted muffle of very necessary earplugs – and Oliver Ackermann’s guitar has chunks missing from it even before the howling tempest of noise comes shredding through his amplifier. Perhaps well-worn scars of battles lost to stages on previous nights, it takes him a mere three songs to be launching it towards bassist Dion Lunadon.
He shuffles his vast amplifier towards the front of the stage – a Frankenstein’s monster assembled from the surviving remnants of older models since destroyed – as if the first few rows weren’t receiving the full brunt of the onslaught enough. Songs like ‘Deeper’ from this year’s Transfixiation LP segue from one another through mammoth maelstroms of feedback with little room for the audience’s appreciation – apart from when it all gets a bit too much for the venue’s PA system.
A closing torrent of white noise allows the band to slink offstage under cover of fog, before a rumbling bass sound from the back of the room turns heads and heralds the start of the band’s encore in the middle of the crowd; a cacophonous drum machine-led lesson in pounding experimentalism. A thrilling night of noise for all five senses.
Gig date: April 3