Desc / Saint Jude's Infirmary

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Desc / Saint Jude’s Infirmary
Cellar Bar Edinburgh
What remains of Desc are promoting their new Steve Albini-produced album and trying once more to fulfill their long, long standing promise. Tonight isn't their night. Each song starts with overblown nu-folk melodrama which is pulled tunelessly through to a biliously avant-meaningless crescendo which proves as empty and as clichéd as the static on the tv screen that litters the stage. Throughout the three days that this performance lasts the two talented side-men are martyrs to the singers hideously studied turmoil. Faces are pulled, backs are turned to the crowd and there is a much a primal screaming about nothing. Disappointing from a band that has the talent to step away from such sub - conor oberst hysterics.
Saint Judes Infirmary take the stage late, and most of the Sunday night audience is drifting off. However, Saint Judes rise ill-temperedly to the non-occasion. All squashed up on the miniscule stage and looking like a shortbread tin velvet underground in their black and tartan robes, their commited approach to gigging has left them and their mix of small-town aggression and hipster friendly references - VU, New Order, Kills, ESG - the only genuine contenders of the night. The lead guitarist looks like Nina Nastisa’s intense little goth sister and sounds like Patti Smith picking a fight with William Reid. The bass player’s out-Hooks Peter whilst walking an invisible high-wire of inebration. The singers have the ennui and glamour of Warhowl starlets and the drummer looks like the young Johnny Cash still many, many miles from God.
The set culminates in a Hammer House of Horror meets Nation of Ulysses soul-stomper that is Vampire. The bassist delivering a territying testitimony, megaphone in hand, against the false godheads and faux rowdiness of the Lahndon Town guerilla gig aristocracy. A short, sharp, electric howl of a set - high in invention and lyrical impact if still a little short in polish.
(Jan Langerak)