Half Moon, Putney, England • 3.19.98

Forget about the albums. Wipe them from your mind. AMP Live are nothing Like AMP Studio. Ebbing tides and gentle breezes are forgotten, and Brian Eno is forcibly ejected from the driver’s seat to make room for a blood-splattered PJ Harvey/Michael Gira duo, and there is some serious mojo voodoo monster rock shake shudder blues going on tonight. AMP groove mercilessly live, but it is an uneasy nauseous groove that shares predatory grounds with the Third Eye Foundation. The performance is divided into three pieces. Mantras are melted down and beaten severely with evil drum n’ bass scrapings. Who knew? All individual instruments merge into total noise overload, as asphyxiating as early Swans records. AMP dance and twitch like the Bacchae trimmed down to a power trio. The singer undulates and emits guttural waves better than Nico (total torch singer femme fatale), while Richard AMP bobs his head gently and grins. Sadly, the romper room confines of the Half Moon (usually playing host to the “finest” in Bowie cover bands) could not even hope to contain such a majestic rrrroar, and a cowardly sound engineer pulled the plug thirty minutes in. Final impression: an overwhelming sweep of silence, a shaken AMP are left looking very confused and heartbreakingly vulnerable. Too human.

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