Every day in May, to mark NZ Music Month, Gary Steel presents something local from his considerable behind. Personal archive, that is. Today’s surprise item?
First published in TOM magazine, 1984.
The Gordons, Terminus Tavern, March 22/23/24, 1984 LIVE REVIEW
PURE, UNDILUTED WHITE noise distorts into a myriad of bending, quivering harmonics. It’s like Concorde in a time-warp, or a spaceship entering the Black Hole; and I’m God’s ears.
I’m nowhere but tucked up in bed, and my ears are doing the screaming for me. Drawn like a lemming back to The Gordons three nights running, I never counted on this post-concert audio (ordeal?) entertainment. Or the fact that I couldn’t hear myself speak for the next two days, but that’s another story. I’m not complaining.
A Newtown Park 2 bus screams to a halt. Suddenly, my senses are pulled back through the windows of the Terminus by a reflected flash of Vince’s bass guitar on the glass. The Gordons crash into another song and I’m reminded that this is possibly the most intense (if not quite the most sophisticated) expression of normally hidden emotions I’ve ever witnessed.
Once upon a time The Gordons, when they were at their supposed ‘peak’, were all about incredibly noisy aggressive short bursts of songs and lots of broken guitar strings. They’ve lost their ragged edges along the way, and with it, superficially, some of the edge; instead, they play more mature, complex (emotionally) and generally even more brutal-sounding songs than before.
This is metal without the bluster, without the braggadocio; they’ve reduced it to the heart of the molten matter. And because they’ve honed it into something individual, of themselves, it becomes a true weapon as well as a world large enough for the interested participant to become embroiled in, for an hour at least.
The Gordons are in their own universe. And I hope they stay there. Rumoured to be soon headed for Japan, they certainly don’t have to conquer the world to capture my imagination.
A nameless permutation of Unrestful Movements with Craig taking Tim’s place on drums and the addition of ex-Barbaric Bunny Angela Roberts on vocals played second fiddle to The Gordons. They played mostly new songs, which featured Glen and Angela firing vocal lines to generally confusing effect; this kind of double-barrel vocal presentation is incredibly hard to pull off without obscuring the music. Noticeably, an instrumental came out top of the crop. Otherwise, the band continues to improve musically, with Pam’s bassie inventiveness adding to the maelstrom. GARY STEEL
Note from the author: Oddly, I don’t remember attending these gigs, although I do remember the state of my aural cavities afterwards. This is The Gordons MkII featuring Alister’s temporary replacement, Vince Pinker. They were pretty good, actually. Someone should re-release their album.
* Don’t forget to check out www.audioculture.co.nz after May 31, where you’ll find a vast repository of NZ music history.