Writer Billy Beale / Lead photographer Joe Parkes – further images supplied by Freshlicker
Before attending the Fleshlicker show at Muthers in Digbeth, I had not seen a band play there before. Some live streamed shows gave me certain expectations of what the gig space would look and feel like, but we were instead ushered to a cramped rehearsal room.
I saw a catering-sized tray of spaghetti with a bag of vegan grated cheese next to it. “Oh sorry, is this the green room?” It is not. This is the venue. The noise and spaghetti share the space. They coexist here, in the carpet-walled room where a Matamp stack, proud and monolithic, will soon shake my ribcage.
Cutting an unassuming shape in a North Face hoodie, military-precision haircut and a smile on their face, Fleshlicker steps into the light and the noise begins. It does not stop. It’s the sound of one’s head being dragged through gravel inside the guts of a whale. Lit from below with a deep red, Fleshlicker turns their gaze to and from members of the audience, a game of eye-contact endurance of which they are the undisputed champion.
As they move around, the light catches and casts shadows over them, bathing their uncomfortable grins in terrifying drama.
Talking to Fleshlicker after their set, one gets a sense that the magician doesn’t want to explain the trick too much, but is interested in our responses. There’s some quirk of personality or sense of humour that, when nurtured correctly, creates a certain artist. The chaos priest, who stands at the Korg pulpit delivering a noisy gospel to an entranced congregation.
I cannot overstate how qualitatively unique it is to experience a quality amplifier and speaker rig working hard, rattling bones, alongside guilt free Italian cuisine. Where else can you safely feel the raw electricity moving enough air to divorce you from at least two of your senses, whilst feeding others?
Seek out your local noisemongers, bring earplugs, and apparently cutlery.
For more on Fleshlicker visit www.linktr.ee/fleshlicker
For more from Muthers Studios visit www.muthersstudio.co.uk/