Live Music + Gig Reviews

Gilla Band + Mandy, Indiana @ Chalk, Brighton

23 October 2022

Dublin four-piece bring the buoyant volume and the rhythmic muscle of latest album Most Normal to the south coast

Gilla Band

Gilla Band (Photo: Mark McGuinness)

It was a given that we had to check out Gilla Band on this UK tour to promote Most Normal, their latest record that just hit record stores. Courted by a cavalcade of staunch devotees who had sung praise of the destructive blast radius left in their wake when the young group perform live. Those emboldened converts weren’t wrong about the buoyant volume and the rhythmic muscle on offer, but beyond that, what idiosyncrasies lay beneath?

Support act Mandy, Indiana offered a mesmerising and hyper sensual warm up, albeit cut from the same cloth as the main act. Front woman Valentine Caulfield, clad in jaunty pink Halloween costume shop wig, persuasively launched herself around the stage singing along in her native French to her group’s gene spliced, comprehensive techno influenced post rock. Seemingly not held hostage by the involuntary technical calamities that had befallen her bandmates nearby, she provided a playful spectacle that not once felt exhaustive and was hard for the headliners to match.

Watching Gilla Band scream out their pseudo industrial nursery rhymes of affected apathy and post-internet alienation, you get the impression at times that all this might be merely a pastiche of compulsion, masquerading as austere emotion. Lacking nuance and range in their autobiographical nature, providing only volume and bluster, surely they can’t be that disaffected, that pissed off?

Sensory bombardment is one of the key mechanisms the Dublin four-piece have in their brutally transgressive arsenal. Visceral entanglements of increasingly escalating insectoid noise are matched with a burning furnace of multicoloured light, exquisitely designed to randomly fire walls of colour into the retina at pivotal moments, providing an overwhelming meditation on the peculiar flatness we all feel in this content heavy and emotionally stunted, media saturated news cycle.

As each track abruptly whiplashed from performative rage to chaotic meditative trance states, the crowd began to get selectively confused. Not leaving much to interpretation or narrative subjectivity, in proximity to the band, their disillusioned ontology barely registered and ultimately didn’t hold up to that thorough a forensic examination.

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