VOIVOD + DOOM
Tonight is all about surprises. Special guests Doom surprise by delivering a digestible set. Firmly crust – they lack the necessary graft and craft to be grind – it’s nonetheless obvious why these British veterans influenced so many. Loud and explosive, a battering attack of dreadlocks, black and white newspaper cuttings and walls of guitar noise regularly overloading into feedback, Doom are one noise, one moment in time regurgitated for remembrance. Our headliners are something else. Their creative endeavours now span four decades and still they surprise. Opening with the primal scream of ‘Voivod’, they begin on a chronological path, pulling out rarely aired numbers ‘Ripping Headaches’ and ‘Forgotten In Space’ early, before unveiling the title track to the forthcoming ‘Target Earth’ and later strumming out the recently unleashed ‘Mechanical Mind’. Snake is in fine voice, perhaps his finest since rejoining Voivod a decade ago. ‘The Prow’ (from 1991’s divisive ‘Angel Rat’) evidences this early, but it is after he announces, “We have a surprise for you,” that things really get incredible.
An air of mystery lingers, Snake bows his head – and for a minute, it’s as if Voivod have decided to go drone. Then it hits. They’re doing ‘Jack Luminous’. There is half an hour left until curfew and Voivod are airing a 17-minute concept piece, which until this year had never been heard live. It is stunning, as our editor exclaims in awe at the finish. Storming renditions of classics like ‘Overreaction’ and ‘Tribal Convictions’ don’t top it and absent staples like ‘Ravenous Medicine’ are not missed. Indeed, it’s wonderful that the only given in Voivod setlist is now its closer – Pink Floyd’s ‘Astronomy Domine’, “for Piggy” and with Snake leading chants of “Pi-Ggy! Pi-Ggy!” at beginning and end. As at Hole in the Sky three years ago, it just about brings one to fits of sobbing – and the sight of so much empty space on the floor of the Garage doesn’t seem to offer any hope. Yet tonight is uplifting, a demonstration of how Away/Chewy/Snake/Blacky have become Voivod: there is no imitation. A riff on the lyrics to ‘Jack Luminous’ perhaps puts it best. One day they will understand. There future is here. And how.
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