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THE UNIT AMA – Derby Bar Vida 25/10/05

Posted: October 26th, 2005, by Chris S

Young man, early 20s, goes to see semi-popular American touring band. Said band offer up partly improvised music: noisy, rhythmical and a total assault on the senses. Two of the members of the band are dressed as koi carp.
This is officially a


and is





In fact, it’s almost too much to take on board. So our man doesn’t take it all on board. In fact he only takes the surface in at all. The equipment, the sounds and the omnipresent bullshit gimmicks that the Yanks keep laying on our asses EVERY FUCKING TIME. He adds this up and comes to the conclusion this band are speaking vitally to him and about him and the human condition he empathises with because that is, after all, what liking a band is about -understanding them and feeling they understand you – right?

Our young man places an advert on the modern internet. It says


It talks about noise, freedom, Voivod, Wolf Eyes and the burgeoning London Grime scene (because our man is open to all culture – he’s no narrow minded punk rocker no way no how).
He finds a bunch of other like minded souls. They form a band called


and they garner between 3 and 4 hundred friends on the Myspace. They book their first show before they’ve even rehearsed and lots of people have bright pink badges on their coats, shirts and knapsacks with the image of an erect penis on it. The words COLLISION! PANTHER! NOW! are arcing out of the wee hole.

They finally get their shit together to rehearse a couple of days before their first show, at Bardens in Stoke Newington, opening for


from Rhode Island.

No one really knows what to play at the rehearsal. They realise that in fact they have 4 guitarists and nothing else. But it’s cool, they have some little mini mixers and some contact mics and before you know it they’re all strapping mics to their ball bags and screaming into Electro Harmonix filter pedals that have gaffa tape over the logo that reads


They do this for about 20 mins and it doesn’t seem enough. One of the guys suggests they dress up and you know what? They’ve all seen bands do that too and it’s been






so they all go and buy matching orange tie dye leggings and hotpants and sort of crazy turban styled headgear they make from towelling nappies. They are ready.

ULTIMATE / (HORSE) DESTRUCTION? : ! are quite a draw and by the time of COLLISION! PANTHER! NOW!’s entry into the live arena there is a large crowd. COLLISION! PANTHER! NOW! take the stage by force and whip up severe terror on the crowd who are by and large loving it. They kind of peter out after 10 mins or so but one of the guys runs into the crowd brandishing his guitar like some kind of bayonet device, spilling pints wherever he goes but you know, fuck it, this is the NOW, dude and you have to live with it. If COLLISION! PANTHER! NOW! are too


for you then go to your stupid rock gig – loser!

No one really knows when the set is over, least of all the band members until the guy playing the white Fender Jaguar that his Mum and Dad bought him throws it face down onto the floor and the band run off, their towelling headgear falling off and onto the floor as they dash into the toilets. It is a wild success. Afterwards a guy who runs an internet webzine called MASSIVE MEAT SNAKE who is reviewing the gig asks our young guy what influences COLLISION! PANTHER! NOW!’s sound.

“Oh, you know, free noise, improv, danger, love, death, John Cage, Steve Reich, hip hop” they answer.

A girl called FLAPJACK speaks to the band about putting a CDR out packaged in a sanitary towel on her label simply called


It is time for ULTIMATE / (HORSE) DESTRUCTION? : ! to play and they blow everyone else’s shit out of the water. Everyone had heard this band is crazy but man, no one said they’d play in a paddling pool! Damn right!


filled with water in which the drummer (who only plays 8 sets of hi hats), the bassist (playing an amplified cycle tyre) and the guitarist (who plays his 19 string guitar with a floret of broccoli) writhe around in while the singer pulls chunks of offal out of his pants and throws them into the crowd who are delighted to find the offal is contact mic’d and running through a filter bank.
By the time the set finishes lots of people have thrown caution to the wind and are in the paddling pool too. A series of rabid online photo bloggers are snapping the action on digital cameras in the hope that someone’s nipple falls out of their dress. People are really


Somewhere in the crowd, another young man is trying to take it all in. He decides to form a band, inspired by the events and the way they spoke to him. He understood them and they understood him. Even though no words were sung, shouted or spoken he feels the bands got through to him though he isn’t sure exactly what was said. It’s more of a feeling right?
The next day on his internet blog called


he reviews the gig and marvels at the freedom displayed, the choice of amazing sounds, the forward thinking, the improvised nature, the wonder, the revolutionary approach.

Later in the week he also reviews a show by The Unit Ama and he says they are

“boring math rock played by old men”.

Chris S

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.


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