Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Monster sounds blast final night into orbit

For the final night of BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Tom Ravenscroft's residency at the MAC, the curator turned things up to 11.

San Franciscan outfit Moon Duo matched their ear-torturing volume with visual projections that tested the limits of the audience's eyes.

The band's mix of rock 'n' roll, psychedelia, punk, goth and dance music was immensely enjoyable, against all better judgment.

Long-haired, grey-bearded guitarist and vocalist Ripley Johnson drenched his instrument in effects, topping the white noise with eerie, seemingly wordless singing.

To his right, Sanae Yamada – who is also the frontman's wife – massaged spacey, sinister sounds out of her keyboards in a massive blur of black hair.

The pair were backed by a drummer who pummelled his kit with one hand, while playing maracas or a tambourine with the other.

Moon Duo's cacophony of droning riffs, primitive beats, repetitive keyboard lines and mind-bending samples demanded the audience join the group in a hypnotic, trance-like state.

Ravenscroft has said he "could listen to these guys non-stop for days", and indeed many of the songs never seemed to want to end.

Only when Johnson would motion with his guitar, Chuck Berry-style, to let the drummer know it was time to finish did one jam make way for the next.

The sounds Moon Duo create are at once boldly original and utterly base, like Slayer if they'd grown up listening to 1960s garage records rather than heavy metal.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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