|Backworld and Special
Bird Cage, London
A small dishelved room above a pub in London's Stoke Newington was the setting for Joe Budenholzer's dark folk ensemble Backworld to make their live UK debut. Around 50 people has assembled for this intimate performance that was as much unexpected as unpublicised. The only indication that this event was to occur was a posting on World Serpent's website a week prior to the show. I've no idea as to why Backworld were in the UK. Perhaps to promote their 3 CDs or maybe their current picture disc on World Serpent, who knows?
Inside what appeared to be at first glance someone's front room, Joseph Budenholzer led his musicians Julia Kent on cello and Connie Petruk on vocals/keyboard through the Backworld repertoire. All three CDs (Holy Fire, Isles of the Blest, Anthems from the Pleasure Park - all available from World Serpent) provided material for this evening's performance which featured, amongst others, renditions of 'Devil's Plaything', 'Pleasure Park', and 'Destroying Angel'. Between tracks the sounds of car horns from the street below could be heard where English football fans continued to rejoice their (short lived) European triumph. Upstairs in the small, sticky room the appreciative audience (which included Ostara's Richard Leviathan and was that Antony from the Johnsons?) were entertained by Joe Budenholzer's tales of (beyond) good and evil, and Heaven and Hell.
As the set drew to a close, Budenholzer announced that there would be special guests. Everyone from Blood Axis' Michael Moynihan and Annabel Lee to Jarboe had guested on Backworld's last album. While the group have struck a kinship with Ian Read's Fire & Ice. Neither of whom appeared to be in attendance, so the options were wide open. First up was Tony Wakeford who performed a rousing and rather perfunctory version of 'In Heaven' from Sol Invictus' The Blade album. Current 93's David Tibet followed, announcing to everyone as he took to the stage that we'd all be dead by the time we reach our seventies. Perhaps a veiled reference to Tibet's father who passed away earlier this year, and to whom Current 93's excellent new release Sleep Has His House is dedicated. Accompanied by Backworld (and Joolie Wood on recorder), they dug deep into the Current 93 archives as they launched into 'Oh Coal Black Smith' from Current 93's seminal Swastikas for Noddy. Enigmatic and charismatic, the way he gesticulates and enunciates David Tibet is a natural performer and it's almost criminal that Current 93 rarely perform live. The final guest of the evening was Andria Degens of Pantaleimon. Completing her second Pantaleimon performance of the week she provided a lovely version of a song from "my album", Trees Hold Time. Her lone voice backed not by a dulcimer but by Budenholzer on guitar.
With some further songs Backworld brought this special and memorable night to a close.
Pantaleimon, Sorrow and In Gowan Ring are scheduled to perform at The Red Rose Club, Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, London on 12 July.
Backworld - www.backworld.com
Sol Invictus - www.tursa.com
Pantaleimon - www.pantaleimon.com
Current Ninety Three - www.durtro.com
World Serpent - www.worldserpent.com