The Bodega’s gone dayglow. Neon rimmed specs at ready. Cameras are snapping at the pre-Henge show build up through prisms for retro effects. They catch alien spikes made of sprayed woven hair and fairy lights stitched into clothing, I look around at the faithful and made-up I and flash back to festival memories…Another time maybe and I’d prep to call Mother and say ‘Mother, I can never come home again…” But this E’z and Wizz feel ain’t a field deep in Hampshire, it’s packed into a box-room in Nottingham.
There’s a measurable glee for abstract and absurd, whispers of maybes and mushroom-girl dancers, welcome to Science Mystery Theatre 3000.
Henge are a spectacle, a feel, a collection… of lysergic emanations from iconic(ly bad) sci-fi B-movies complete with foam fish heads, Reptilicus creatures, bad acting and heavy hammed dialogue. Black and white Outer Limits and TV featurettes all brought in to real life hi-colour, props and poor budgets exposed in the light and somehow made all better for it.
It’s character driven and scripted, interplanetary vocoderd communiqués invite all us earthlings to dance. Don’t expect grit and don’t hold out for meaning, no one’s here to mine depths of human emotion, there’s only one reason – that’s play.
Synths squeal like a florescent slime over backdrops of basslines and beats. 16 bit sounds scatter and flail over drums that get punched clean and simple. There’s a fever on stage, frantic, frenetic, everything’s crisp and everything’s fast and it’s aimed at your dance DNA. The design is flawless, the connection created between band and crowd is unshakable close to unbreakable. Henge are Venusian gods of a free-party scene summoned up from some test tube creation.
But I’m not the crowd… I’m a man with a pen in the light at the back, a witness with one small confession; anything with a hint of ska-punk / party funk brings me out in rashes and hives. This is purely a personal problem. I hate the sound’s ego and enforced instructions to move now and have fun or else. And it underpins half the band’s set, so how do I fix this dilemma? I can’t blame the band for my tastes, especially when everything else ticks my sweet-spots.
So how do I fix this? I focus elsewhere; on the sections and breaks of loose drum and bass and the progressive jams that free-wheel through feel and spectrums of colour and sound. These parts suck me in and I grab at the chance to put these into print.
Robo-girl dancers all shimmer and shake, they jerk to the off-kilter kitch. Hi-camp dynamics and stage show in flow there’s no way I can’t say it’s contagious, every audience member is proof. Just because I’m immune doesn’t mean I can’t see that Henge pulled off everything they planned to do.
Spectacle, feel, interaction. A mother base made for their faithful. Henge landed in Nottingham on November 29th, find tour dates and music right here.
All live photo credits belong to Stee Simons.