Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Quick review: Fuck Buttons

As Benjamin John Power, one half of Fuck Buttons, pounds away on a single floor tom, he surveys the crowd in front of him and to the side. Crowded around the stage and the spaces between the PA and the band are a cross section of Berliners, the band's music appealing to those who can lay claim to genuine outsider status in a city of identikit hipsters - a young guy in a Devo hat and a Health t-shirt, a man covered in dense facial tattoos, a woman in a leather jump suit gyrating for the whole set with her partner. Fashion isn't followed here, and you get a sense of how Berlin used to be or still is, below the surface - a place to be the person you want to be.

Fuck Buttons could have you reaching ever deeper for the adjectives to describe their music. It's dark, yet rhythmic, but it's not dance music, although that doesn't mean they don't make their fans move. The audience seem lost in their own mental space as they react to the physicality of the sound that FB produce. With the side of stage decibel monitor regularly pushing into the red at 112 DB - a level of volume that doesn't trouble the sound system at Berghain - the sound envelopes everyone, and few people drift away once sucked in. As Andrew Hung, Power's partner, sways back and forth in time with their own pounding drums sounds in front of an onstage mirror ball, this intense hour of sonic exploration comes to an end - never punishing the audience but providing a soundtrack for their own personal catharsis, however brief that may ultimately be.

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