13 & God, The Garage, London – 15/07/2011

13 And God

What gives London?  Where is everybody?  Surely this can’t be the sum total of people who have been waiting for almost six years for the return of the incredible combination project of The Notwist and Themselves?  The improbable release of second album Own Your Ghost this year shows further blending of the dividing lines between the artists.  The resulting 13 & God succeeds where so many supergroups before have failed with the results being greater than the sum of their parts.  The only way it could be any better would have been if they’d have gone with the amalgamated name ThemTwist instead.  Maybe if they’d gone with a name that doesn’t always need to be followed by the proviso “but it’s not Christian Rock”, then I’d be in Brixton Academy right now and doseone would still have his Mohawk but would be able to shoot fire out of it too.


The crowd is awkwardly thin as opening act The Title Sequence begin their performance.  They were personally chosen to perform by Marcus Acher after previously supporting his side project Lali Puna in London and leaving a positive impression.  Jets of dry ice choke the crowd as we struggle to make out the two silhouettes sat between a pair of reels each sat facing the other as though lovers.  They combine delicate guitars, vocals and keys with flourishes of electronica to create a sound so gentle, that it bypasses your conscious mind and sinks directly into the next level.  Suddenly I become paranoid that the reels are broadcasting subliminal messages during their set but thankfully that thought is replaced by a sudden urge to buy Lipton Ice and kill the Queen.  Musically they sound like a Simon & Garfunkel project produced by Boards Of Canada.  This is a good thing.  However, between bar trips and drinks of Lipton Ice, it seems that their set is over before it begins.  The dry ice and disarming sounds make me wonder whether it was all just a dream.  A quick check of saliva trails from the sides of my mouth confirm that at no point had I fallen asleep.  The Title Sequence are definitely a real band.  Unless this is Inception II?  That’s probably definitely what happened.


Between sets and I’m starting to wonder what’s going through the mind of the Dry Ice Machine Man this evening.  Perhaps he thinks the solution to too much dry ice is to blow it away with more dry ice?  Maybe he part owns the dry ice producing company?  Maybe the machine is simply broken.  After a little more thought and a quick application of unquestionable science, I conclude that it’s definitely a government conspiracy and as I’ve used science then it must be right.  Either that or dinosaurs.


After a fifty year wait (perhaps less), the sound of people going woop and woo signifies the fact that some German people and some American people have walked onto the stage.  I note that Notwist tall-man Console isn’t amongst the numbers in the smog, and can only assume that he’s finally worked out that he can use his trademark Nintendo Wii controllers to play Wii games also and picture him at home in his pants playing World Of Goo.  As I try to put this horrible image out of my mind, Marcus Archer gently strums the strings of his guitar as new album opener It’s Own Sun gently hugs the crowd.  Metaphorically that is.


It’s a beautiful start to an exquisite set that draws predominantly from Your Own Ghost with a few choice moments from the 2005 self titled debut thrown in too.  When they opening notes of Soft Atlas begin, it takes everything within me to not touch myself inappropriately in public.  Almost as though they knew my dilemma, they cruelly stop the song after delivering the first half.  How cruel.  The collaborative efforts feel more accomplished in the tracks played from the latest album, with less moments that feel pure Notwist or pure Themselves.  It’s a testament to them individually as musicians and as a collective to hear how well they compliment each other despite such different sound of their other projects.  The Notwist would never have written Oversleeping nor would Themselves have penned Perfect Speed.  The uncharacteristically understated nature of the backing vocals from Dose show a man of humility playing to the strength of the project.  There are only so many times where his Micro Machine ad-man rap style over the top of everything is appropriate and that is while drinking a nice cool Lipton Ice and killing the Queen.


It’s rare that you’re left bowled over by the collective talent played to you at a live show, yet this was one of those treasured nights.  It’s a pleasure watching a band so effortlessly gifted performing this way and clearly enjoying it.  Almost like the anti-Wavves.  The songs are loyal to the originals with the exception of clunky synth lines replacing the gorgeous horn sections of the recording rendering the intro of Janu Are borderline laughable, but even the band seem to realise this and merely shrug it off.  Probably a better option than synth strings.  They sound like poo on toast and nobody likes poo on toast.  Not even Console.


The reason for such a low turnout is beyond my comprehension, though it’s totally fine by me getting to enjoy this with enough space to gyrate in an approximation to dancing.  Let’s just hope that the reaction just doesn’t mean we have to another six years before it happens again.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.