Liars / The Haxan Cloak @ SWG3, 11 October
The Haxan Cloak is crouched almost out of sight with a hood obscuring his face, building dense, textured bass loops into funereal, transcendental techno; like a colder, psychedelic Basic Channel. His set culminates in two minutes of sheet-metal white noise and face-melting strobe light, leaving the crowd shocked and confused. It's a bold, excoriating performance, unapologetically avant-noise.
Liars start with an incendiary, four-to-the floor rendition of Brats. A large proportion of the crowd seem unmoved, although the atmosphere created by the trio with looped analogue synth lines, echoing vocals and swathes of static and drone begin to reel them in by the time The Exact Colour of Doubt emerges, followed by haunting takes on Who Is The Hunter and the title track from the virtuosic WIXIW.
Throughout the show, Aaron Hemphill, Julian Gross and de facto leader Angus Andrews swap instruments, varying between synthesiser, guitar and percussion. Andrews is a magnetic frontman, unfeasibly tall; all Thom Yorke falsetto and Nick Cave growl. The audience seems at its most receptive as Liars leave WIXIW behind for a delve into more abrasive tracks like Scarecrows on a Killer Slant from 2010's Sisterworld. The result is a show of two halves; the band clearly enjoying their most recent evolution while the fans are still playing catch up. [Bram E. Gieben]