Wednesday evening at the Mahogany Room started off perfectly genteel with funk/groove band the Swartznelfjord Trio. Their music moved from sporadically riffed tunes to soft dreamy melodies including, believe it or not, an instrumental cover of a hip hop song by Tumi & The Volume. “The guitar is going to do the rapping part,” announced Rob Nel (on bass). And to general astonishment this was borne out – the guitar proving to be ‘tha shiznit’, flowing like da dopest MC in da hood. The wholehearted backing of bass and drums turned the cover into an energetic audible pleasure.
It was a well-received experiment that didn’t prepare us for what was about to happen. “Be open for electronic music, a new European music,” declared Michael Wertmueller, the drummer of Swiss experimental/avant-rock duo Hadron, before they ripped the Mahogany Room’s sensitive eardrums apart with an out of the ordinary stir-up of aggressive techno and something like a teenage-angst-infused metal genre sans screamo vocals. Fortunately, moments of long pauses capitulated to complex up-tempo bass plucking and psychotic drumming, offering an impressive twist to the sheer volume of their set.
Some of the more senior concert-goers complained that their ears were hurting, yet appreciation for Hadron’s musical courage came to the fore through ‘wows’ uttered by other audience members. As much as the perceived quality of their set varied, it was most assuredly out of place in the cosy and civilized Mahogany Room. Yet be that as it may, the duo dared us to explore hazardous territories. Rather like acquiring a taste for hot chilli, the burn must be endured before the pleasure can be experienced. Let’s rise to the challenge!
The Swartznelfjord Trio and Hadron performed at the Mahogany Room on 12 September 2012.