We may have given in to a collective disregard and pervasive nonchalance towards the apparently unavoidable and ever imminent catastrophic downfall, but ecocide is quite rightly a matter of grave concern for the five members of Snapped Ankles. Dressed in their obligatory mop-top silly disguises and branded workwear and brandishing shamanistic staffs carved from fallen branches, the mysterious new wave mutoids from beneath the sewers of that there London brought forth their vengeful motorik manifestations and humorously compelling ceremonial mayhem to a feral assemblage looking for subhuman amusement.
Riled up by the cryptic and sweetly infantile trappings of support act Mermaid Chunky (themselves dressed for the occasion like a couple of morris dancers lost on their way to a glow-in-the-dark traveller wedding), the ravenous crowd took great comfort in the main band’s utopian nihilism and participatory chaos. Ballardian infestations of disintegrating concrete, self reflective glass and moonlit timbers illuminated by tungsten headlights eddied across a smattering of ovoid screens as the band began their increasingly monotonal performance.
Assistance from the public is a key factor in the group’s compelling live show. As a seething pit of violent bodies began to swell and crash into one another, and as numerous perspiring corpses lifted up and floated across a sea of grabbing hands before coming ungracefully crashing down, the band’s unassuming yet piercing front person readily threw himself into the melee, creeping through the throng, seeking out unassuming folk who might shake the odd maraca or encouraging them to throw a swampy green light on them, courtesy of the portable flashlight he brought along with him. Displaying a jovial air with those willing to cooperate in the ritual, he would tease those who remained motionless, lacked the requisite rhythm or felt too shy to indulge his theatrical whims.
As he grappled with his garrulous dystopian mantras, the other gonks back on the stage whipped up a spirited and committed electronic shakedown. Vocals for most of the night were frankly inaudible but language and legibility merrily gave way to what the people really wanted: atmosphere. Vigorous bass and insistent cuckooing drumming caused wave after wave of ecstatic seizures, the mass of apostolic bodies wriggling like impatient maggots to each track.
Take the agitated menacing opening track Rhythm Is Our Business, from this year’s Forest Of Your Problems album. Its lyrical swipe at chronically polluted industrialism got lost somewhere amidst the overflowing sequential grooves before The Evidence found them applying more quirky B-52’s style spiralling melodies to their standard hyperactive 4/4 onslaught.
Encoring with the digital melodrama of Jonny Guitar calling Gosta Berlin from their debut Come Play The Trees, the group pacified the unified desire to hear a hit song of some kind. They may not have articulated clearly their arboreal concerns, but their fiery musical bloodletting negated the need for such preconceived conjecture.