After the release of their latest album ‘Attention Earth’ this October, Henge has made its way to the Edinburgh winds. With endless energy and boundless enthusiasm, this band has put on a performance that is out of this world.
Henge’s unique sound palette was a joy to dance along to. Blending together a mix of psychedelic synths, progressive rock, electronic dance, they give us the genre ‘cosmic dross’ which is brilliantly combined and performed. Consisting of 4 members, there is the Agriculan Zpor on vocals and guitar, the Venusian Goo who is simultaneously their bass player and controls the drum machine/sound board, the Zylanthian Nom on the drums, and the transfigured human Grok on synth keys. The show was structured around introducing the alien species (Zpor, Goo, and Nom) and the space soundscapes, while cleverly providing a social commentary to urge us humans to spread peace and demilitarize.
They effortlessly interweaved their music with their alien personas, from the moment they strode onstage with their alien skins, to the wholesome and rapturous ending. Each number takes us on a trip of their journey to Earth. This is effectively done so through the combination of lighting, visuals, and music. With a simple push of a button attached to the microphone, Zpor’s voice turned to one that was alien to us – the low pass vocoder-like filter acted to create a cyborg voice. The crowd went wild as their ‘cosmic dross’ plays, and Zpor sang lyrics incomprehensible to us. In that moment, the words didn’t matter. The multi-coloured lights were flashing and we were presented with symmetrical grid-like moving patterns on the projection. Simply put, the performance and atmosphere transformed us into the dimensions of space.
The lead singer and guitarist surely knew how to intimately engage and connect with us humans, despite their music that is seemingly disconnected with our music. Through his crazy antics, quirky dance moves, and ever-so-discomforting yet alluring eye contact, he commanded our attention even at times where other musicians/aliens were performing impressive solos. Special mention goes to Grok and Nom as well. The former showcased impressive solo passages full of calculated yet free-flowing ornaments, and the latter displayed impeccable rhythmic control and stamina. They looked effortlessly relaxed and very involved with the music.
What struck me most was the ending. Their last number ‘Demilitarize’ had us singing back to them, as the band stepped down the stage and joined us for an a capella chant against the weapons of war. Zpor was lifted high by some of the crowd, cheering on as our voices rung throughout the venue of Voodoo rooms: ‘We demand that the weapons of war are created no more, demilitarize! We demand that we have in its place the means to unite, colonise space!’
Overall, the way they connect with the crowd was unique, and what a lot of new acts aim to be: refreshing, pushes boundaries, yet familiar enough to connect. A brilliant show to end the weekend!
PHOTOS: Voodoo Rooms