As Pete Doherty was driving round London after another successful stint in rehab, Londonist was having some substance free fun of it's own; although we were eyeing up one of the Luminaire's shooters - the Jim Morrison: Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey, mmmm...smokey! Some of you may remember we've waxed on, waxed off about TODD and Part Chimp before. But the chance to see them both together, now we really HAD to be there.
To recap. TODD - London/Austin hopping noisecore shot through with an unnerving unpredictability, Part Chimp - doom laden riffs with descents into wild noise, and an occasional bass player. Who wins? We decide.
It's immediately apparent that all is not well in TODD world. Craig has set up in front of the stage and there's broken glass all around. This is not good when you're later going to rolling on the floor with legendary rock photographer Steve Gullick. For the first few numbers he seems distracted, unwilling to do more than let loose occasional burst of frenzy whilst Chris the drummer fills the spaces keeping time. Still, an angry TODD is better than no TODD at all and a warm audience reception helps break the spell. Before long, Chris is hammering away at his kit, John, the lanky guitarist, is reliving the halcyon days of US hardcore and Mrs Craig stands tapping away at her tiny sampler looking to all intents and purposes like a court stenographer. It's not until the guitars pause that you realise the sound she's creating is the last thing you hear before being pulverised by a marauding herd of angry buffalo.
But it's all eyes on Craig. In person a warm, unassuming, loving father with a growing collection of disappearing babysitters; on stage, or on the floor, a grizzly bear berserker attack of fearsome rage and untold terrors. Mr Clouse doesn't believe in the audience / band distinction. He's far happier launching himself through the crowd with all the finesse of a Northern Line drunk, bellowing and screaming and pointing at whoever gets in his way in a manner not un-reminiscent of Death himself telling you your time is well and truly up. All the while the music gets faster, more aggressive and the space around Craig grows. One young lass at the front looks positively terrified. There's no point trying to work out which song is which, the joy here tonight is in the full force of their assault. These guys could power London and save us all that Nuclear crap if you could just find a lead strong enough. By the time Gullick's taken vocal duties on one song, guitar on another and wrestled Craig to the floor, Part Chimp's singer Tim is overheard saying: They ALWAYS do this to us. They are magnificent, a tonic to live mediocrity and at the Garage next week supporting The Fucking Champs. GO!!!
In the past we've seen Part Chimp hold their own with Explosions In The Sky through sheer speed and volume, break a Melvins crowd with their bottom heavy Sabbath riffery but tonight, through no fault of their own, they're coming off second best. That's not to say they're not good, they're great, but it's all relative when your bones are still shaking from the support. Tonight's set sees them down a bass player, he's stuck in Liverpool, and no the worse for it. Over John's pounding backbeat, Tim (pictured) and Iain lay down a barage of guitars, weaving between those gut crunching Sabbath soundscapes, swirls of righteous noise and more familiar cutting jabs as espoused by the likes of Bloc Party. As with TODD, at times it's hard to figure out when the playing stops and the feedback begins and the set ends with an extended battle to see who can keep the most sustained distortion. They play with a tight energy and passion but in the end they can't break the visceral hold their support act has left upon us. A muddy vocal mix does them little justice and a little more movement might have helped redress the balance. That said it's still not going to stop us from seeing them again. And again. And again.