SHEEP ON DRUGS + NOISFERATU + DIGITALIS + DARK DISCO DJ – BAR 42, WORTHING 01.06.19
Sheep on Drugs are a British techno/Industrial music group, formed by Duncan X (a.k.a. King Duncan) (vocals) and Lee Fraser (a.k.a. Dead Lee) (guitar/keyboards) and currently composed of Fraser and Johnny Borden (vocals/keyboards). Originally classified as part of the rave movement, the duo emerged in the early 1990’s with a string of singles, including ‘Motorbike’, ‘15 Minutes Of Fame’ and ‘Track X’ (later covered by Grace Jones as ‘Sex Drive’). ‘15 Minutes of Fame’ reached the lower reaches of the UK Singles Chart as did ‘From A To H And Back Again’.
I was wrongly under the impression that one of my fave old acts had imploded many moons ago, but no, this is not the case. Lee Fraser was back with a vengeance and brought Johnny Borden along for the ride. Incidentally Johnny is actually a girl.
Amazingly they decided to unleash their brand new dozen track baby ‘Does Dark Matter’ (released 3rd June) at one-off album launch gig at Bar 42, which is located a stone’s throw away from Worthing Pier.
This was a venue that I had never frequented before and so it was always going to be memorable for that, let alone the goings on during the night. On arrival, I discovered how compact a venue it is and was glad for this as I knew that I would be getting a birds eye view of the ‘new’ Sheep On Drugs.
It was very much like being locked into a container with little light to get us by and so very intimate indeed. I took my position at the front and we were off……
Lee looked far from a middle-aged man and Johnny was easily half his quota, but clearly this didn’t matter one iota, as it’s the music and overall spectacle that I had come to witness. Johnny had painted her face silver and could be described as an anarcho lioness with her extensive hair (extensions) and Lee’s eyes were ringed with black mascara for that authentic druggy look. I noted that he had many more tattoos than when I had last seen him about 20 years ago. Maybe former member Duncan had inked him as that’s his chosen profession these days……apparently.
Their sound and act reminded me of the US proto-synth duo Suicide, as clearly they had had an enjoyable time prior to coming on stage. Were they out of it or not? Johnny kept trying to come into the crowd and getting her mic caught on the barrier. She was wanting to give her all tonight. Lee with his striking yellow hair had rigged up a small electronic box onto his leg and he would touch it with his fingers to produce electronic notes, when he wasn’t playing his electronic synth guitar.
Although they were plugging their new platter, which included playing ‘The Ballad Of Whiskey Jane’ amongst others, their sound compared to their older material does appear to be at half speed. They say it’s a more mature sound. I love the fast EBM-punk like tracks best and thankfully they also offered us a few classics including my fave ‘Motorbike’ (released 1992) as well as other awesome speed tracks from 2013 ‘Rip It Up’ and ‘It’s A Bitch’. We also had a Velvet Underground cover in the form of ‘Waiting For The Man’.
For an example of their latest material you can watch their brand new video for ‘Addictus Bennedictus’ HERE.
Their sound tonight wasn’t as powerful as it used to be and there were many more slowies than days gone by, and for that it wasn’t my fave ever SOD gig, but hell, it’s still Sheep On Drugs isn’t it. Let the good times roll…………
First up was synth duo DIGITALIS, who formed in Slough in 1986 and usually consists of vocalist Graham Denman and Mike L’Angellier on keyboards. They have cited over 30 years of electronic influences thus seeing them amalgamating all of their previous strengths, including synthpop, Hi- NRG, industrial rave, techno and EDM.
Tonight’s lineup saw a change of personnel due to a family bereavement. Mike L’Angellier was unable to attend the show, but vocalist Graham was ably assisted by Roger Mason. Roger had previously been keyboardist in Brighton electronic bands Reality V and This Mono Galaxy. He now plays and sings in Pre-Raphaelite pop duo ‘Love Is A Banquet‘, with Rebecca Mason.
Tonight’s set was nine banging EBM tunes that certainly were in keeping with the eager Sheep On Drugs audience. Every song was simply superb and I reckon that this was the best that I have seen them.
Digitalis setlist reads:
‘Feed Your Head’ (found on ‘Collections Of Conditions’ album).
‘Give To Me’ (found on ‘Accepting & Giving’ 12″ / ‘Collections Of Conditions’ album).
‘The Pain Goes On’ (found on ‘Collections Of Conditions’ album).
‘Why Accept’ (found on ‘Accepting & Giving’ 12″ / ‘Collections Of Conditions’ album).
‘No Control’ (found on ‘Collections Of Conditions’ album / ‘Dominator Film Soundtrack’).
‘Nothing Last Forever’ (found on ‘Collections Of Conditions’ album).
‘I’ll Follow’ (Unreleased track).
‘Could It Be That All Is Chaos’ (found on ‘Hold On To Me’ EP).
‘Hold On To Me’ (found on ‘Hold On To Me’ EP).
Further details can be found about Digitalis
Next up was something quite unbelievable – Noisferatu. The light’s were virtually non-existent and these two sizeable shadowy figures wearing masks appeared out of the ether. They were accompanied by the intense smell of incense. There was gong banging to noise distortion and a radish leaf suddenly landed in my beer. One of the figures was screaming “All Hail The Radish”, whilst the other entered the crowd on all fours and drew a radish on the floor in chalk. Eleven minutes and 52 seconds later and that was it! I know mental isn’t it. They themselves state that they offer up “Occult Radish Noise Rituals”.
Thankfully it was recorded for your amusement – witness the wonders of Noisferatu HERE.
More info on Noisferatu HERE.
Discs played before and in between artist slots came courtesy of Dark Disco DJ and were well in keeping with the night. The choice arguably being Front 242’s ‘Headhunter’.
More info on Dark Disco DJ HERE.
A truly entertaining night out!
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