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Napalm Death: Live At The V&A
Laurie Tuffrey , March 14th, 2013 10:29

Grindcore veterans collaborate with artist Keith Harrison next week; UPDATE: show cancelled

In terrible news for Napalm Death fans, and, more widely, fans of volume, the V&A have cancelled the show, issuing the following statement:

"It is with regret that we have taken the decision to cancel the one-off Napalm Death performance in collaboration with our ceramic artist in residence Keith Harrison on Friday 22 March.

"This was due to take place in the Europe Galleries which are currently being refurbished and a further safety inspection has revealed concerns that the high level of decibels generated by the performance would damage the historic fabric of the building.

"The V&A is committed to an exciting programme of exhibitions and events but the safety of our visitors and building remains our priority at all times."

What are you doing next Friday? If you've got any sense, and the requisite protective clothing, you'll be attending Napalm Death's live set at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which will be amplified "through an experimental sculptural sound system" made by ceramic artist Keith Harrison. In a lingering, two-fingered salute to safety concerns, the press release explains that ceramic tile sculpture "will potentially disintegrate as the performance progresses". Excellent.

Tickets are free, but you'll have to act quick, as there are only limited numbers - get hold of them here.

Explaining the concept behind the performance, Harrison says: “My interest in Napalm Death started in the late eighties when, as a teenager in Birmingham, I would listen to John Peel’s evening radio show when they would appear out of nowhere in jaw-dropping fashion, sometimes for no more than a few seconds.

"The raw, uncompromising energy of Napalm Death will be used to activate a set of three specially created ceramic sound systems based on the group of vivid blue and yellow tiled tower blocks on the Bustleholm Mill estate, West Bromwich where I was born. I wanted to invite the band to collaborate with me for this live performance at the Museum for the last of a series of disruptions I have worked on throughout my residency.”

Says Mark 'Barney' Greenway of the band: "Sound as a weapon - or a weapon of change - is a very interesting concept and I think that the whole process of our sound gradually degrading clay sculptures is captivating. The noise element of music should never be understated and this exhibition at the V&A will hopefully demonstrate that music can do interesting things beyond the realms of clipped production techniques.

"On a personal level, particularly of interest to me is the fact that the sculptor Keith grew up around the very same area as me in Great Barr, Birmingham, and basing his sculptures around the tower blocks in that area brings back a lot of quirky memories mixed with the impressions of shameful deprivation in some of those places."