Friday, May 11, 2012

TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES, with Age Of Consent and Fat Wipes at The Macbeth - 7th May 2012

As I was being bounced around the Macbeth, surrounded by sweaty bewigged transvestites and goggle-eyed kids with unlikely hairdos I realised that TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES might be the best band in the world. In anticipation of the show I’d watched some live videos of their previous London gigs, so I thought I had a pretty good handle on how they’d be live. Low quality cameraphone footage doesn’t really do them justice at all. 

I first heard about them through the Guardian’s “New Bands of the Day” column. As soon as I’d read the first sentence I knew they were the band for me: 

“For their live show, these Japanese electro girls shoot milk from rubber mammaries while pretending to be half-human, half-cow.” 

Sold, as far as I was concerned. I’ve seen enough morose and slightly nervous looking four piece guitar bands to last me a lifetime. I had to wait six months for them to return to London – once I knew they were playing some concerts I began talking them up to people. Unfortunately, on playing their transcendent track “LSD” most people thought I was taking the piss. I guess this music isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it boggles the mind how people can’t at least appreciate their insane futuristic ambition. I’d even bought two tickets to this gig in the hope that I could convince someone – anyone – to go with me. More fool the suckers that missed out on this, because this was the best thing I’ve seen parading around a pub stage (or any other stage for that matter) for quite some time. 

I arrived way too early and sat at the back of the room watched Fat Wipes of whom I can remember absolutely nothing about except that I think the lead singer was wearing some kind of hat. It’s not that I can remember them being especially bad, but they were somewhat drowned out by the radiance of the main act. The Age of Consent fared a little better, and I distinctly remember thinking that their last song was “pretty good”. Even so I wasn’t here for these guys, I was here for TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES. I squeezed myself into the front row, and watched as the less publicised half of the band set up. Three supremely chilled out looking Australians dressed in high black paper crowns and white clothes with TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES related hieroglyphs scrawled over them tuned up and set up their drum kits and guitars. While they were doing this a DJ stood on the corner of the stage frantically gobbling a punnet of noodles and playing Boney M’s Rasputin. I guess he must have missed his dinnertime. I’m not sure if he was with the band or not, but I have to give him credit for his excellent and varied music choices in the run up to the band. If you’re looking to get me riled up and my blood pumping in anticipation you’re really going to be hard-pressed to do better than Deceptacon by Le Tigre.

As this wound down, the three central members of the band, Qrea, Yuka and Nabe took to the stage. They stalked in wearing wearing full body leotards, with designs drawn all over them in pen. They looked like punk-art leopards, wearing some kind of camouflage for I-don’t-know-what. The set began with ‘Masaka’, which has a warped Negativland style spoken-word mimed intro. The band falls to the floor in a heap, the song kicks in and you’re immediately assaulted by a frenzy of furious screaming, thrashing and wailing. A mosh pit sprang up almost instantly. I don’t know why I hadn’t expected one to really, but it only struck me just how punk rock their music is while standing in front of them. It’s an assault of pounding beats, screeched Japanese lyrics and then just plain screaming into the microphone at the top of their lungs. It’s like music that’s been beamed back in time from some amazing future. You get sucked in, feeling like Dave Bowman flying through the stargate in 2001. 

 The three girls move around the stage as one, swapping places to take turns snarling at the audiences and striking severe militaristic poses. They seem to move as a hive-mind; a species of insane alien sent to brainwash us into submission. As the gig goes on they rip off their costumes and parade with only two pieces of duct tape affixed to them.

Watching three Japanese girls parading around nearly topless sounds slightly lurid, but you'd have to be into some pretty weird shit to be turned on by this. TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES are most definitely not presenting themselves as passive objects of desire, a fact which is amply demonstrated clearly by the fact that they’re beating your head in with the kinds of beats that previously only existed as Chris Morris-esque parodies of insane music. They segue into performance art between and during songs, mashing strawberries into their mouths and letting the pulp drip down into the audience, they spit lumps of burger bun into the crowd and paint inverted crosses on each other’s chests. I don’t know what it all means but damn it’s cool. 

They end with LSD, and the crowd goes bananas, finding new reserves of energy to surge in one happy bouncing pile of smiling and slightly dizzy gig goers. Beaten into submission, with my ears ringing, and a beer and sweat sodden top I find myself smiling uncontrollably. Holy fuck this band are amazing. I would follow them to the ends of the earth and back.

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