Cosmic (and comic) with fingers on the pulsar...
A green amphibian,Martian, assorted silver space-suited dancing girls and other striking individuals beam into a Lancashire gig...and produce a killer set. TONY DEWHURST meets the ‘cosmic dross’ band with a serious message
Henge describe themselves as earth’s primary exponents of cosmic dross.
The North West spacemen have been spreading Henge’s other worldly wonder sounds across the land for a light year, but their alien-tinged tunes are definitely from another universe.
Never straying too far from the grit and funk of bare bones electro rock and roll, Henge’s spacey set at last summer’s Beat-Herder festival provided one of the finest hours of the Ribble Valley dance fiesta.
“At Beat-Herder, we had a green amphibian creature on drums, a bass playing Martian, groovy dancing girls in silver space suits and thousands of volts of electricity coursing through our ancient headgear,” said Henge leader Matthew Whitaker who is set to make a crash landing at Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre before Christmas.
“We played our song – Demilitarize – a passionate call for world peace, and it was a very emotional and sincere moment.
“All the crowd went nuts, singing: ‘We demand the weapons of war are manufactured no more. No more. No more’. There’s something very special about Beat-Herder and the beautiful human beings that inhabit those lush Ribble Valley fields every July.
“Nick and the boys who run it have asked us to play again in 2016 – and the sonic countdown has already begun.”
Not content with the normal gig format, the tongue in cheek Henge crew have joined forces with Manchester space ravers Age of Glass to develop a fresh kind of clubbing experience.
A Henge event, dubbed Space Cassette, combines live electronic music, theatrical happenings, conceptual elements and warehouse raving to bring a new hybrid party to Lancashire.
“When we play it is more like a monster rave than a gig and the crowd becomes part of our inspiration,” he explains.
“The event has a narrative, but we also want the music to be different every time we perform, with plenty of frivolity, silliness and a tiny dollop of prog rock.”
So what are the characteristic sounds of cosmic dross?
“Rude bass, heavy drums, a spaced-out synthesizer, and a bit of cosmic love and inspiration. Playing electronic instruments live without the aid of computers, hopefully encourages the listener to consider the immensity of the Universe and ultimately cherish the sacred soil of planet Earth.”
He added: “Cosmic dross is a form of music indigenous to the planet Xylanthia, located in the Syrius Star System and brought to Clitheroe for the first time by the starship Henge.
He continued: “We are doing a few experiments about how we can put cosmic dross on to vinyl, and we are hard at work in our laboratory.”
Henge plus Honeyfeet, Clitheroe Grand Theatre, December 19. 01200 421599. £10. www.thegrandvenue.co.uk