Guillemot's music proved even more alien, unpredictable and alluring performed live than on record. Opening with a swampy percussive number from her recent Phobiza EPs, she delivered her 50-minute performance without pause, which felt like the right way to experience the intricacies of her sonic palette. She cut an animated figure onstage, clearly invested in the strange rhythms emanating from her controllers. Every so often, she'd grab a mic and emit a flurry of indecipherable vocals. Around 20 minutes in, she locked into a mutant dancehall groove that will no doubt have impressed both Raime and Demdike Stare's Sean Canty, who stood by watching on.
Due to the outlandish nature of the music, it's hard to know which environment would best suit Guillemot's live show. Might a club work better? Aside from a few people dancing on the fringes, the audience was muted, content to sit at tables sipping craft beer while a chaotic assemblage of sounds played out. Weirdly, the venue's ever-underwhelming soundsystem suited the tunes, adding an extra muddy layer. When Guillemot finished, the crowd broke their silence and treated her to rousing applause.
Gary Howell's return from hibernation last year, with the Housebound Demigod LP, seems to have slipped under the radar, which might explain why the audience had thinned by the time he took the stage. Hunched over his gear with a guitar strapped to his back, his improvised performance contrasted with the looseness of RAMZi's set, expanding on the dark ambient sounds of Housebound Demigod and focussing on low frequencies, negative space and the tensions between them. One minute he was serving up tones of shrieking sub-bass, causing some attendees to visibly wince, the next he was producing exquisite, rusted sounds.
Howell extended his back and started fingering his guitar for the first time around 20 minutes in, toying with notes through feedback, looping and reprocessing. The audience shifted nervously in their seats when he later swung the guitar around for a second time; some even called it quits and left the venue hurriedly, as if chased out by the frequencies. Personally, though, I enjoyed the performance—it left me wanting to revisit and reassess Housebound Demigod.