Monday, August 23, 2010

Hurrah Mummy, it's the F*** Buttons!


You know you could only be at a festival when…

… it’s after 11pm, and you’re watching a band called Fuck Buttons play the kind of nosebleeding, earblasting noise you occasionally enjoy because it acts as a reset switch in your head, scrubbing out your brainpan like wire wool and making all the bad people go away, the kind of noise that actually scares some of your friends, and…

…your view of the stage is obscured by a toddler on his father’s shoulders.

As we reach the outer edges of the Far Out Tent at the Green Man Festival, the aforementioned Fuck Buttons are playing the first song off their latest album.  Well, I say ‘song’.  This is just a noise.  But that makes it sound like a bad thing.  It’s a noise that goes squeeeeee and ranggggggggg and zzzzzzzzz in the most satisfying way. 

Fuck Buttons are what Mogwai would have been like if they’d picked up synths instead of guitars.

They’re what would have happened if the Chemical Brothers had been a couple of Orcs.

This is static electricity translated into English.  It’s sounds that belong to another kind of life form, made listenable.  (Well, I say listenable.)

Fuck Buttons music is what happens after you go to bed and your telly and your laptop come to life, go to a cathode ray disco and start fucking on the dance floor, shooting ultramarine and indigo pixel sperm.

I do love Fuck Buttons.  But – and maybe it’s something to do with a nagging worry that until little Jasper decides he’s ready for bed we’re perhaps expected to pretend they’re called Flip Buttons – after thirty minutes I feel I’ve seen and heard all I need to.  I could stay to the end quite happily, but I don’t have to.

As we leave the Far Out Tent, while the neon strips of lights are still pulsing and throbbing, we have to reacquaint ourselves with mud that’s as filthy as the noise at our backs.  I worked out earlier that I’ve been to ten festivals in the last fifteen years, and five of them have been mud baths.  There isn’t a mud bath festival in the last decade that I’ve missed.

“It’s the same kind of mud as Glastonbury now,” says the Beer Widow, now on her third mud bath out of six festivals.

“Yes,” I reply, “It’s obviously the same soil type.”

And it’s only as these words leave my mouth, thankfully unheard by the masses around us getting drunk, baked, stoned and bombed, contemplating what for many of them is a mere curtain raiser to a whole night of bleeps and squawks – it’s only then that I think, ‘Maybe I am getting too old for this shit’.  

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