Justice Yeldham, or Lucas Abela, as my introduction to him was, has chosen an interesting route. Having been familiar with his recent successes such as his Death Grips collaboration and his 2018 Unsound Adelaide performance, it seemed like greater audiences and a wider recognition were only an arms length away for experimental music’s glass-wielding mad man. But true to his roots, he’s playing a couple of Melbourne shows on Thursday nights (also, Nighthawks a week earlier) at some pretty ‘lo-fi’ venues for $10 a pop.
But hey, watching Justice Yeldham make insane noise from blowing on a sheet of glass feels like a perfectly curated affair for Halloween night.
Opening the evening was R//S and Occult Blood, but opening my evening was Umbilical Tentacle. Beginning with a scream, audible vocals and a doomy riff, I was a little unsure what I was about to see. About a minute in, convention dived out the window and lightning strikes of squeals, thunderous blast beats and eclectic synth chords were throbbed, woven and broken down with aim at the audience. Lots of short lived grind passages and small moments of synth made these guys rather well balanced. It’s a bummer I hadn’t been familiar with the band earlier cause these grinding weirdos are right up my alley.
Only minutes after, Mr Abela placed his large rig of pedals and sound manipulators on the ground in front of the stage and tested that day’s sheet of glass with his face. Sound check melted into set and a couple of minutes of noise was enough to summon leavers to return.
Sound-wise, the set ranged from high-pitched bubbling, through to percussive like throbs and all out cacophonous noisy mess. With no shortage of manipulation equipment at his disposal, sound layered over sound as he tweaked riffs through his pedals while fragmented sounds looped and reappeared.
Rounding out his performance with the synonymous head smash, Justice Yeldham takes his audience on a visually and sonically immersive journey through the potential and excess of one of music’s strangest instruments, the suction mic. Appropriately paired with extreme, avant-garde, experimental or downright insane supports, this halloween performance was a low-key, but well crafted affair.