Sonic Tapas: Al-Thawra, The Kominas and Gummy Stumps
13th Note, Glasgow, Fri 25 June
The subjects of a documentary on the North American Islamic punk scene known as ‘Taqwacore’ bands Al-Thawra and The Kominas were fresh from playing Sufi folk-rocker Richard Thompson’s Meltdown festival at the South Bank Centre, a curiously civilised setting for such rabble-rousing acts.
Al-Thawra’s doomy crust-punk thrash is enlivened by Middle Eastern melodies, while The Kominas offer a more commercial, upbeat sound, complete with trumpet and terrace chant choruses. Their version of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘I Will Worship You My Love’ is pretty righteous: Qawwali recast as a hardcore rave-up. With instruments constructed from bicycle parts, Levenshulme Bike Orchestra’s polyrhythmic junkyard racket transcends novelty. Wheels jangle, forks clatter and chains rattle, while a demented vocalist jabbers and growls, and a grimy distorted synth adds monstrous bottom end. They’re the highlight of the evening, although Glasgow’s twisted post-punkers Gummy Stumps run them close. Rob Churn’s battered three-string guitar channels The Fall, DNA and Pavement in a glorious cacophany of skewed riffage and suggested melody, while his yowling vocals clash joyously with Spicy Colin’s gruff Alex Harvey-meets-Mark E Smith declamations.