Writer Emily Doyle / Photographer Alice Needham
As the Easter bank holiday weekend draws to a close, a select crowd of discerning listeners gather at Centrala. Local noisemonger Joe Parkes, a.k.a. Pale World, stands with his back to the audience, illuminated only by the fading spring daylight and an array of LEDs.
A gut-rumbling drone shakes the venue.
Pale World’s set is corrosive. It’s a sensory onslaught punctuated only by brief glimpses of rhythm. It’s the kind of sound that makes you uncomfortably aware of the hairs on your head and the way your teeth fit into your gums.
At one point Parkes takes a violin bow to a piece of sheet metal to produce some piercing tones. Once the bow is visibly shredded he flings it across the henge of Orange amplifiers.
The lack of a front-of-house playlist between acts feels considered and unnerving.
The lights go up as post-hardcore An Apparition tune up, silhouetted against the blue and yellow drapings of Centrala’s ‘We Are Here: From Ukraine’ exhibition.
Their punchy approach is considerably more stripped back than Pale World, with less effects pedals between the whole band than Parkes had to himself. Between short, sharp, punky outbursts, An Apparition are quick to express their appreciation for the turnout. Judging by the reception, the feeling is mutual.
After a brief line-check, polling audience members on whether the vocals are too high in the mix, Brighton’s Chalk Hands round off the evening with their unapologetically emo sound.
It’s emphatic, sincere, and delivered with total precision. Some listeners might not expect to hear this combination of melodic guitar lines, screamo vocals, and abrupt time signature changes quite this far from the year 2004, but the front row are loving it and instigate multiple sing-a-longs.
“When you guys said, ‘Yeah, we listened to the album a bit’” one of the vocalists laughs, “… you even know the lyrics to the song in French. What the fuck.”
For more on Brum locals Pale World check out their Bandcamp here: www.paleworld.bandcamp.com
For more on An Apparition, check out their self titled release through Half Melted Brain Records here: www.halfmeltedbrainrecords.bandcamp.com/album/an-apparition
For more on Brighton-based headliners Chalk Hands visit: www.chalkhands.bandcamp.com/music
For information about Centrala, including their current art exhibitions, go to: www.centrala-space.org.uk