Old Market erupts with this pack of three game-changing live acts who liberate and radicalise sound through means tried, untested and always thrillingly other. Legendary Dutch punk/noise/jazz/whatever quartet The Ex return for their first Bristol show in five years: Liverpool trio Ex-Easter Island Head reshape guitar composition with tabletops, mallets and locked-in repetition, while Deflag Haemorrhage/Haien Kontra shred all known rulebooks through a mangle of abrasive sonics and mesmerising meta-performance.
Since 1979 The Ex has been operating beyond categorisation. Born out of the punk explosion, which made everything possible, the band remained curious. Using guitar, bass, drums and voice as departure points the band kept exploring musically undiscovered areas: the early 1980s saw collaborations with jazz musicians and an Iraki-Kurdish band. Later on the group found partners such as Kamagurka, Tom Cora, Sonic Youth, Han Bennink, Jan Mulder, Ab Baars and Wolter Wierbos. In 2002 The Ex set up a lively musical exchange with Ethiopia, which eventually led to two CD recordings with the legendary sax player Getatchew Mekuria.
After 35 years, more than 25 albums and around 1800 performances the band still works independently, without record companies, managers or roadies. Because of this work ethic of doing it all yourself The Ex still is a great example for other forward-thinking bands and musicians. ‘Staying a bird, staying independent, free if you will, for three decades, that takes skill and something else, something more like heart’ (music journalist John Corbett on The Ex).
“An Ex show is a shared experience, they take the audience on a musical adventure to places no one has been before. They are the most interesting musical unit in the world today…Go and see the Ex and you will hear rhythms you have never heard before…a sweaty seething party, an uplifting, joyful celebration. They have brilliantly proved that playing music with this sense of wild-eyed fun and radical political edge and this adherence to all that was good and great about the positive politic of the punk and post punk period can actually fucking work” – The Quietus
“Once seen, a live performance by … The Ex is never forgotten. Imagine two men in short pants and army boots, guitars slung impossibly low, careering round the stage like demented dodgem cars, backed by a veritable arsenal of precision-honed polyrhythms” – The Wire
Ex-Easter Island Head are a Liverpool based musical collective composing and performing music for solid-body electric guitar, percussion and other instruments. Primarily performing as a trio, the group incorporate multiple prepared electric guitars struck with percussion mallets to create works that explore group interplay, repetition and melodic invention through purposefully limited means.
“A three chord punk mission statement turned into a neo-classical manifesto” – The Wire
Opening the night will be notorious Anglo-Basque meta-noise duo Deflag Haemorrhage/Haien Kontra featuring Mattin and “ ” [sic]TM Goldie – a genuinely radical live proposition who shake all known pillars of rock, improvised music and performance culture writ large, whilst making ‘William Bennett sound like Moira Stewart‘ (Steven ‘Heatsick’ Warwick).