See also – Interview with Chip King (The Body)
Offering up their 15th edition, Birmingham’s internationally renowned music / arts festival Supersonic lived up to their mission statement “for curious audiences” yet again. A heady melange of musical styles, the adage “something for everyone” proved pretty much to be the case. From Friday night’s openers at the Town Hall – Neurosis / Godflesh (with Hey Colossus / Yob playing at the actual festival site much later that evening). the bar was set pretty high, and it’s testament to the planning undertaken by Capsule (the not-for-profit arts organization behind the festival) and their Artistic Director Lisa Meyer that the standards of care and choice of artistes reflected a left-field eclecticism that ensured a weekend sell-out.
Spread over 2 stages, both within 5 minutes of each other, the average punter can dip and dive between stages to find something that can scratch that itch. This year, Saturday brought the Sistahpunk Big Joanie, rhythmnoise of Aja, intrumentalists Matters and skewed Welsh Sykepop of Hen Ogledd to wow the Warehouse Stage whilst The Crossing Stage offered up the drumming masterclass of CZN, the evolving and enveloping synths of Faten Kanaan, the unrelenting bass heavy power electronics of Prison Religion and the incomparable glory of that ferocious scream into the abyss that is The Body.
Sunday brought Mono’s aching instrumentals, Anna Von Hauswolff’s stately, imposing songs and Dalek’s alt hip-hop as well as the heaviness of Pigs(x7) and Jerusalem in My Heart’s Arabic political electronic music. All of the acts impressed with their full-on delivery and many seemed genuinely touched by the enthusiasm of the audience.
Overall, this description doesn’t really do justice to the warmth and genuine fun this festival is. The haircuts may be brutal, the t-shirts defiantly alternative, the demographic very probably skewed to the over 25s, but there is a palpable sense of a love of music and a willingness to engage with these acts that never fails to impress and keeps bringing us all back to The Home of Metal year after year. Long may Capsule keep up this 15 year hot-streak!