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Posted: October 6th, 2003, by Dave Stockwell

To continue Ollie’s admirable ascent unto the upper reaches of American Noise (TM), I thought I’d share about Sightings‘ European debut last night. On record, Sightings are something I find very difficult to adequately describe or evaluate. Their records are very much more an experience rather than some kind of tangible “enjoyment”, so I jumped at the chance of deconstructing the mystique of exactly how they make noises so harsh and tinny by seeing them perform in the flesh.

Now I’ve seen them (and got some pretty nasty tinnitus, which I expect to last a good couple of days yet), I’m happy to report that Sightings are very much more a conventional live “power trio” than I’d been led to believe – albeit one where the drums are played through contact microphones and the guitarist who has his “instrument” set to EvilNoiseBastard permanently. My general impression was that Sightings are doing their utmost to violate and disseminate the corpse of early ’80s NoWave armed solely with shards of glass and a knowledge of what is damaging to the human ear (that’s the guitarist placing metal rods under his strings and failing to play anything remotely resembling a tune or even recognisable notes rather than frequencies*). They have a habit of taking one very basic primal riff, and then playing through some evil squealy effects pedals. Unfortunately, this often meant that the bassist & drummer were doing very little but hit the same basic rhythm whilst the guitarist flailed around for five minutes at a time, but when they bothered to develop ideas into some kind of full flow, Sightings really started to take over all your senses and drag you down a path towards utter sensory destruction.

When I saw the infamous Black Dice earlier in the year, what I enjoyed so much about them was the sheer experience of the effect that the sound had on my body; this is what Sightings appeared to be aiming for – if from a different angle – and fitfully, they pulled it off. On the first night of a tour and with unfamiliar rented gear, it took them a while to get going. I’d anticipate that if you see them on upcoming date, they may well have got their confidence together enough to give your head a suitably punishing trouncing. They’re currently on a very brief European tour, so go check ’em out – if your ears are prepared to take the abuse.

*This is not a criticism.

Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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