There is no floor
Please, before you go
A livid document. Recorded in pastpresentfuture tense.
In 2010, highly influential/ inspirational noise/psych revolutionaries The Telescopes gave a rare and memorable glimpse of their classic debut ‘Taste’. Which stormed the independent charts over twenty years ago, sending waves beyond the realm of natural vision that resonate still.
Within moments of them walking onstage, I forget where I am and what year it is.. Immediately I'm hit by a tidal wave of noise, which sets the tone for the rest of the show... the relentless energy that Stephen injects into his performance. He is in no way a conventional front man, and his onstage demeanor is just as I imagine it would have been 20 years ago. Stephen is free to leave the stage and stumble around, dragging the mike stand behind him and colliding with anyone foolish enough to stand too close. He curls up in a fetal ball or rolls around the floor, frequently getting tangled up in his microphone cable. The anger, fear and frustration that he exudes can be uncomfortable. Stephen looks genuinely tormented and I believe this is his way of dealing with traumatic events in his life. I have not seen a performance this cathartic since Michael Gira fronting Swans. As the final song, "Suicide", heads towards its ear-splitting climax, I begin to wonder what Stephen has in mind to finish the set. He picks up a bottle and I'm worried that he is going to do himself some serious harm, but instead he calmly leaves the room, while the noise inside gradually diminishes to a single piece of feedback. Much of the excitement here comes not from actions themselves but the tension of not knowing. It reminds me that there was a time when gigs were often confrontational, and dangerous for both audience and performer. Today's live shows are often very safe in comparison.
Crashing in with 'There Is No Floor' the band perfectly captured the noise assault of the early material and it was great to see that Stephen Lawrie had lost none of his venom in the preceding years. Clearly these songs still meant everything to him as he screamed them out whilst rolling around the floor. Fucking great. I look forward to new Telescopes material.
A new album is underway, featuring material recorded at the Brian Jonestown Massacre studio in Berlin. The latest EP sold out immediately. And “Taste”, first aired on a 1989 BBC1 session for John Peel, is due for an April reissue on the Bomp! label, along with the crucial EP “The Perfect Needle”.