Boston’s long-running sonic experimentalists Neptune teamed up with U.K. punk collective Action Beat for a killer show at The Record Company on Friday night.
With my Newport Folk Festival plans for the weekend having fizzled out, I was in dire need of a consolation show on Friday, and this one was certainly a satisfying alternative. The Record Company is a recording studio and DIY show space I’d yet to investigate, but color me impressed – things sounded as good and ran as smoothly as one could possibly ask for in a tiny space that shares a building with a carpet store and the Mass Ave Smoke Shop. And as for the bill itself, the evening was a marvelous convergence of volume and daring weirdness from far and wide.
Action Beat are currently on a U.S. tour with New York’s Opening Bell, and for the final two dates – here in Boston and the following night at Pawtucket, R.I.’s Machines With Magnets – Neptune joined them to premiere a new piece (and some new home-built contraptions). Opening the Friday night show was Providence duo Mother Tongue, whose sludgy noise rock pummeled and entranced for the brief length of their set.
Opening Bell were on next with the night’s heaviest material. The NYC trio roared forth with howled vocals and crushing doom riffs in an impressive display that conjured notes of Electric Wizard, Thou and Sunn O))) at various points.
Action Beat, a group formed in 2004, operated on this current tour as a six-piece fronted by former The Ex vocalist G.W. Sok. The group was down one member due to a family emergency, and missing another because, as Sok glibly informed us, “we also had three drummers but one got arrested.” Regardless, the downsized two-drummer/two-guitarist configuration still delivered a thrilling noise-punk onslaught that concluded with both drum kits being dismantled and moved to the back of the room for a kind of off-mic percussion circle while the final song collapsed in on itself.
To bring the night to a close, the as-of-late elusive Neptune executed a set quite unlike anything else I’ve seen this year (or ever, really). The four-piece lineup headed by founder Jason Sanford (who you may remember from the recent E show) began with bowed strings attached to belts before transitioning to a mini-symphony of percussion and an exercise in vocal drone augmented by bass-emitting stompboxes, before concluding with Sanford casting forth sheets of noise from his wire-frame guitar. It was weird and often otherworldly beautiful – and certainly pretty far removed from your typical Friday night rock gig.
A whole bunch of photos from all four sets below.