Cardiacs – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Thursday November 15
Cardiacs have been described as “prog-punk”. It’s an imperfect description, but perhaps as close as you’ll get. Their music is complex and intense, combining the disciplined intricacy of progressive rock with the all-out attack of 1977-era punk – but perhaps their true spiritual forefathers are mavericks such as Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. Remarkably, they have been together for thirty years, operating right outside the mainstream, and inhabiting their own singular musical universe.
Brothers Tim and Jim Smith lead the band, resembling Michael Douglas in Falling Down and Uncle Fester from The Addams Family respectively. They were accompanied by guitarist Kavus Torabi (Simon Amstell fed through a distorted lens) and two impassive female singers in matching pinnies. Keyboards were audible throughout, even though none were on stage. This merely added to the mystique.
Faced with such impossible rhythms, the mosh pit responded with precise stop-start timing. Like the band, they too had mastered the art of controlled chaos.