Lightning Bolt are an established proposition these days; almost establishment. The Providence, Rhode Island band’s brand of chaotic drum/bass has been lauded for over a decade, ever since their third album, 'Wonderful Rainbow', broke them into the underground conciseness in 2003. But what if you cut this minimal ensemble down even further, taking away the rhythmic bass guitar Brian Gibson to leave only drummer Brian Chippendale? Well, you get Black Pus, the side project he has had running since the mid-2000s.

Perhaps it is testament to the power of Lightning Bolt that even a solo show by half the members is still a sight to behold. Lit in red in the centre of the stage at the half-full Dome in north London, Chippendale thanks the crowd for coming out on a Monday evening before donning a ragged mask and getting down to business. Naturally his drumming is the main attraction, his arms a scarcely believable whirlwind, pounding out incomprehensible rhythms on a remarkably simple kit. But added to this are shrieks of what seem like utter anguish from Chippendale, filtered through a microphone taped in his mask, and a kick drum-triggered battery of snarling samples. It all makes for a dazzling spectacle.

There is a danger virtuosity of this nature can become self-defeating; see Steve Vai endlessly shredding to little effect. But Black Pus is more pop-orientated than the ingredients suggest. Much as support act Dan Friel (of Parts & Labor fame) layers sugar-sweet melodies over the static bursts of his solo material, Chippendale is at pains to ensure his material is more than just a showcase of his bravura talent. Muddied melodies are discernible under the sheets of noise, drawing listeners in at the same time as the waves of chaos knock them back. 'Marauder', from latest Thrill Jockey-released album 'All My Relations', is a notable highlight, but other tracks can be difficult to discern amid the mayhem. A star performer, untouchable at the top of his genre.












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