The fury and sway of a Bonnacons of Doom live set is not to be understated. On Saturday night they took to the stage of Quarry to play what they call “transpennine hypnotic music”. Barring lead singer and ceremonial leader Kate Smith the band all wear mirrored masks as they play. It is easy to become totally lost when staring into these masks that reflect a distortion of the audience bearing witness.
From the moment they arrive on the stage the audience is bombarded with a wall of droning guitars, with Smith moving both arms as if to conduct the crowd themselves. The volume is as deafening as it is mesmerizing. Grown men stand, eyes closed, nodding their heads in a trance. The walls of Quarry shake.
I myself was still clinging desperately onto the cliff edge of an illness, therefore I was pathetic. I sat atop my silly little stool sipping half pints, gazing onward. It was, in fact, an interesting cure to this ailment though. The intensity and the trance-like nature of the music was enough to captivate me beyond my snotty nose. I instead was pulled away from a world of coughing for an hour and left feeling all weird afterwards.
Much like the fantastic album they have just released, each song felt like a growth on the limb of the previous track. At parts it was hard to distinguish one song from the next, not because of a lack of creativity and variety in the music, but because the world they have created within the music is so fleshed out, and the droning guitars were so easy to get absorbed in.
It was very telling that this packed room of devoted fans all seemed to leave the show now sporting Bonnacons of Doom t-shirts and records. It was almost like they had been indoctrinated into the cult the band had created. People outside spoke loudly about the transcendental effect the band had. They nodded along at each other's musical comparisons, waiting to explain their own take on the gig. They are the dual definition of a cult band and a ‘cult’ band.
As I ate my McDonalds later that evening, sniffling into a quarter pounder, I was left with a resounding calmness. As deafening as the band were, it was almost like those audio massage’s you can get, where the kind lady will whack a little bit of metal with some more metal and the buzz gives you all goosebumps down your neck. It was a bit like that. It was weirdly relaxing in this way, and the fact there were epic riffs throughout was just a bonus.
Bonnacons of Doom’s new album ‘Signs’ is out now on Rocket Recordings.