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PREVIEW: Fat Out Fest 2017
Eoin Murray , April 13th, 2017 16:13

We look ahead to what this weekend's Fat Out Fest has to offer

Since 2007, Fat Out's founders Emma Thompson and Verity Gardner have been hosting independent gigs between Salford and Manchester, embracing all things leftfield and underground with an ever-increasing ambition and verve when it comes to creative bookings.

Nowhere has this been made clearer than in the lineups, and indeed in the atmosphere, setting and ethos, of their Fat Out Festivals hosted in The Burrow (formerly, The Islington Mill event space) in Salford and surrounding warehouse venues. Since the first instalment of the festival in 2011, Fat Out have championed the experimental and the unusual, given credence and platform to all-sounds-rare in the northwest where elsewhere they would be buried.

This weekend (April 14-16) sees the festival's fourth outing taking place in all its splendour. With 70 live acts, art instalments, talks, and performance pieces being hosted by various promoters – including tQ's own curation of The Burrow on Saturday – there will be boundless scope for discovery and floundering giddiness throughout the weekend.

Being the considerate folks that we are, tQ have rounded up just some of the weekend's plethora of performances and potential highlights to give you an idea what to keep your eyes and ears primed and ready for. For more information on the festival, and to grab last minute tickets, head here.

Giant Swan

Friday 14 - Caustic Coastal Stage - 19:10
Saturday 15 - Metamorphic Stage - 19:00

Bristol's improvisational-electronic punks Giant Swan have been revered since their near-accidental founding in 2014 thanks to their caustic and unpredictable live sets. Both members of art-rock outfit The Naturals, this offshoot stemmed from improvised jams between the duo of Robin Stewart and Harry Wright, resulting in sets of brutal, cavernous techno.

Utilising rows of guitar effect pedals, analog synths, drum machines and Stewart's distorted yells, Giant Swan produce a live performance that veers from expansive euphoria to pummelling earthiness and industry. It can be both frightening and utterly energising, with no experience ever being quite the same.

What luck then that you have two opportunities to catch this fervent spectacle at Fat Out; on Friday's Caustic Coastal stage bill and on Saturday's Basilica Hudsen & Le Guess Who curated Metamorphic stage.

Check out tQ's interview with Giant Swan here.

Moor Mother

Saturday 15 - Caustic Coastal Stage - 20:00 (performance)
Saturday 15 - Islington Mill B&B - 18:00 (In conversation w/ The Wire)

Philadelphia-based artist and activist Camae Ayewa has, since 2012, been using her Moor Mother moniker to create a riotous, visceral sonic platform for her intense, unmerciful lyricism. Ayewa's distorted, industrial productions are sensory demolition in a live setting, giving her howls of protest and her observations on race, socio-political turbulence and identity a near-apocalyptic context.

In our review of her 2016 LP Fetish Bones we described Moor Mother's music as being "chock-full of violence, of memory or apprehension of violences to come, of the playing of violence in an artistic sense".

At this year's Fat Out Festival not only will there be a chance to catch her unrelenting live performance on Saturday night but there will also be a live interview hosted by The Wire that evening at the Islington Mill B&B.

Check out tQ's interview with Moor Mother here.

The Bug VS Dylan Carlson of Earth

Friday 14 - The Burrow stage - 22:30

The sonic pairing of Kevin 'The Bug' Martin's fervent dub electronics and Earth's seismic drones was a gift that we could not have dreamt up but is one that has proved more than welcome since the release of Concrete Desert in March.

In a recent interview with tQ, Martin and Carlson discussed how the duo only met in person once prior to their recording their collaborative LP. Despite this, the pair's stylistic melding of distorted, growling guitars and frosty, turbulent electronics made for an album and live show that is equal parts spectral and immersive.

Currently on their first tour and still discovering how best to play off one another in that live setting, catching The Bug and Earth at Fat Out will be an experience in guttural energy and experimentation. They play the Fat Out and Supersonic curated Burrow stage on Friday night at 22:30.

Sly & The Dead Neanderthals feat. Colin Webster

Saturday 15 - The Burrow stage - 20:30

From one thrilling pairing to another, the split release between UK noise unit Sly and the Family Drone and Dutch free-jazz duo Dead Neanderthals from 2016 of this year was a frenetic and explosive serving. The split, which featured a guest appearance from saxophonist Colin Webster, released via God Unknown Records, was a panic inducing frenzy that has served as a tantalising teaser for their forthcoming collaborative album Molar Wrench, set to drop on Hominid Sounds.

As a live teaser for what is set to be a frankly ear splintering record, The Quietus' curated Burrow stage on Saturday night will host Sly and the Dead Neanderthals alongside Colin Webster in what is set to be nothing short of a wild performance.

Check out our features on Sly and the Family Drone and Dead Neanderthal.

Part Chimp

Sunday 16 - The Burrow Stage - 22:30

This Friday 14 April, South London noise rock behemoths Part Chimp will release what we believe is one of the best records of the year so far. iV is the first album the four piece will have released since their return following an amicable break-up in 2011.

iV, set for release on Mogwai's Rock Action Records, features some of the best work the band have produced, with lead track 'Namekuji' being an aural gut-punch of enormous guitars and drums that will likely generate a small earthquake in a performance setting.

The Burrow stage on Sunday night will play host to Part Chimp's notoriously loud live show. One of the strongest acts operating in the country at the moment; this is not one to be missed.

Have a read of our interview with the band from prior to their initial break-up interview.

Test Dept: Redux

Friday 14 - Burrow Stage - 20:00

Having returned earlier this year with a Trump inspired video for the re-imagining of their 1986 track 'Fuckhead', Test Dept have been gradually re-entering our lives, having started a hiatus 19 years ago.

Re-joining the live circuit in 2016 as Test Dept: Redux, the momentum is continuing for the duo with a string of live dates set for this year and a new album expected to be in the works. With the original pair of Graham Cunnington and Paul Jamrozy adding percussionist Zel Kaute, sound artist Charles Poulet and visual artist David Altweger to their live line-up, Test Dept: Redux is a rejuvenated force to be reckoned with.

Test Dept: Redux will bring their set of industrial heft to Fat Out's Burrow Stage on Friday, curated by Baba Yaga's Hut.

Have a read of tQ's interview with Test Dept here.


We have Guttersnipe pegged as one of the most exhilarating, impactful live acts operating in the UK at present. The duo - comprised of Xyloxopa Violaxia Bdallophytum on guitar, vocals and electronics and Oxylepis on drums - creates music that is immediate and frantic, that grabs by the face and screams into your mouth. It's captivatingly jarring.

The incomprehensible howls clamour around the equally rabid guitar and drums, making a sound that is utterly chaotic but that has the same epiphanic energy that one images comes with speaking in tongues. With songs titles like 'Tutti Fruti Chernobyl' and 'The Last Vestiges of Sodomy on the Racecourse', you can gather a fair idea of the sort of mania you'll be getting yourself into here. It's rather irresistible.

Guttersnipe will on the Caustic Coastal stage on Friday, handpicked by The Quietus and Fat Out.

Islam Chipsy and EEK

Sunday 16 - Bernard Stage - 21:45

Islam Chipsy and his band EEK's live shows have become known to be the stuff of legendary energy both in their home city of Cairo and further afield. EEK's percussive pairing of Khaled Mando and Islam Tata creates a whirlwind of rhythm to envelope Chipsy's freewheeling keys.

Known for his heavily improvisational performances, no two Chipsy shows will ever be quite the same. In an interview with tQ last year he explained how spatial context will always influence how a show ends up sounding. He said: "Every country I play at has its own mood I’ve noticed. When I arrive at a venue or a party, you scope the mood and the vibe, so you’re able to see how you can improvise. Whatever happens when I’m on stage performing, I try to capture the flow and mood of the crowd, almost as feedback."

For a sense of what to roughly expect Islam Chipsy and EEK's set on Sunday on the Bernard Stage curated by Supersonic, take a look at the video below of their intergalactic performance at Salfod's Islington Mill last December.

Group A

Saturday 15 - Caustic Coastal stage - 18:40

Berlin based Japanese avant-garde electronic duo Group A create a sonic landscape that blends the futuristic and the traditional, the robotic and the organic. Tommi Tokyo (synthesisers, vocals, percussion) and Sayaka Botanic (violin, cassette tapes) don re-imagined traditional Japanese dress but have them altered and randomised to add to the sci-fi like visual elements of their live sets.

Combing yelped poetry, violin, synth bass and bleeps and shrouds of distorted noise, group A's live set-up is an alternate universe type of affair that is quite unlike any other, an industrial invasion into the natural.

Group A will play the Caustic Coastal stage on Saturday. You can read our interview with them here.

Blown Out

Saturday 15 - The Burrow stage - 17:00

Newcastle sludge/noise rock outfit Blown Out's Superior Versus EP from March of this year offered two 15 minute cuts of raw psychedelia with enough heft to knock you flat on your back.

Not only that, but if the recently uploaded live set from The Windmill in Brixton is anything to go on then their live sets are a trip to that is worthy of charging felt pelt into. Described in an interview with tQ as "total sonic destruction incarnate", catching them at The Burrow stage early on Saturday evening will shake any residual cobwebs from the night before right out off you.

Read our interview with Blown Out here.