Yesterday evening I finally got to check out Portsmouth’s newest and most unusual venue, The House of Rapture as well as one of Russia’s most exciting psych/stargaze bands, Gnoomes. The House of Rapture opened last December as a live music venue built into Staggeringly Good Brewery which is situated not too far from Portsmouth’s Fratton Park football ground. It’s an unusual space, a dinosaur church to be exact, which has a stage high above the crowd (see main photo), stained glass windows and even a chandelier. Pie and Vinyl hosted Wednesday’s gig bringing together some of the most unusual, experimental bands/musicians together for an evening of music you might not have otherwise heard. Although there weren’t any pies, there was pizza!
Up first was Rumi So Yo who provided an alternative, improvised set of noise and sounds from atmospheric, droning white noise to intense vocals, ending up with making a saxophone scream into oblivion. It’s the kind of music you either get it, or at least try to or you don’t but I’d never heard anything quite like it. Chette Wynne then brought blues injected, ambient post-rock with monologues filling the space with a more calming alternative. Meanwhile, Portsmouth beat-maker Highlights of our Modern World (HOMW) filled the last support slot with ambient, lo-fi hip hop bordering on trip hop. All three supports weren’t necessarily what I’d usually go for but each one was so involving in their own way that despite their thirty minute sets having no gaps, they didn’t drag on.
Russia’s Gnoomes headlined the night bringing their psych, kraut rock and self-coined stargaze to the worlds first and currently only crocodile church that is The House of Rapture. The band are close to finishing up their seven date UK tour in support of their latest album release ‘Mu!’ last week. I’d only come across Gnoomes for the first time following the release of their latest single ‘Glasgow Coma State‘ a month or so back but was impressed enough by the experimental side of their music that I knew they were a must to see live.
The lights were dimmed in an attempt to give the space an even more “church” style vibe and Gnoomes took to the stage for a set of experimental goodness. Their live performance was much less frantic but more intense than what I’d expected based upon listening to their music. Hypnotic and mesmerising would be the best way to describe Gnoomes absorbing, mostly fuzz-filled, even sometimes ambient cacophony of sounds and noise live. With expansive layers of cold-wave, psychedelic sounds amongst almost indecipherable vocals, the quartet manage to create something ethereal but also harsh in the best sense of the word. Gnoomes are a band that you’ve got to see live to appreciate their music fully.