Festivals seem to be stagnating in the face of an ever-shifting industry landscape, taking safe bets on line-ups laced with nostalgia trips rather than taking big leaps into the unknown. Supersonic exists largely outside this bubble, and for the past 10 years it has been bringing some of the best experimental and forward thinking musical experiences to Birmingham. The festival also does well to carry on the tradition of heavy envelope pushing sounds, after all it was these parts of the midlands that brought us so many great metal pioneers (the festival just so happens to boast a Black Metal life drawing class, a screening of the new Melvins film and a talk on Napalm Death’s contribution to DIY culture).
But it’s all about thinking outside the box, and so Supersonic’s line-up contains a diversity which will have any music lover with a keen ear and an adventurous mind drooling in excitement.
Here at BCFB we’ve selected our top 5 acts to catch this weekend at Supersonic. Take a look and get yourself a ticket!
is one of raps most inspiring and irreverent rebels, galvanizing the strength of sisterhood through her broad Hip-Hop sound. Her debut mixtape ‘1992
’ is due for a deluxe re-release this year, and includes such anthems as ‘Tomboy
’ and ‘Kitana
’. She isn’t shy of her punk roots, having collaborated with the likes of fellow New Yorkers Show Me The Body
(and one might also expect to see her rock the occasional Slipknot
hoodie). Princess Nokia is a millennial horn blower leading the charge for a positive inter-sectional musical revolution and she is definitely not one to sleep on.
Is that a bass sax you’ve got strapped to your sen? Or are you just pleased to see me? Reed-wielding badman Colin Stetson has played with the likes of Arcade Fire, BADBADNOTGOOD and Bon Iver. His unparalleled circular breathing technique and use of contact mics to add extra harmonics through vibrations in his throat have made him the go to jazzer to create extra-special something. His performances are as much physical as they are musical, he is certainly a sight to see.
Myself and Andy (Editor of BCFB) were lucky enough to catch these guys in Manchester this week, and they were nothing short of out of this world. Yasuko Onuki and Ichirou Agata have been trailblazing across the universe for the past 25 years with their super-fast grindcore-esqe positive vibrations, leaving listeners feeling like they’ve been sucked into a 16-bit cartridge dosed up on E-numbers. Lasers, yelps, bass chugs and screaming guitars whip up a wild and overly stimulating performance. You’d be a chump to miss these champs.
Putting the ‘super’ into Supersonic is this ‘supergroup’. The underground star hookup of Kevin Martin (The Bug) and Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Napalm Death) have intertwined once before in the form of industrial noise-hop group Techno Animal. Now they are finally reunited for their special performance of new project Zonal. With artists like Death Grips, Moor Mother and Ho99o9 bringing experimental and noisy hip-hop back into fashion, what better time than now for some of its stalwarts to return to the fold.
Zu’s 2009 release ‘Carboniferous
’ is perhaps one of the best noise-rock albums of the noughties. Their sound can only be described as a squad of elephants attempting set up a kitchen blender. This is definitely one for all the math-rock, noise-rock, jazzy crossover geeks. Splendid maddening stuff.
Supersonic Festival kicks off on June 16th and runs through to June 18th! Tickets can still be purchased here!
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