Moth Club – June 28th

It’s been four days since the Referendum results were announced, one day since England were knocked out of the Euros by Iceland. A pub down the road from Hackney’s MOTH Club is decked in limp flags bearing the Cross of St George. Rain-spackled punters sip their bitters in the beer garden. The street is flanked either side by neon giants – the Hackney Empire at one end, a Tesco’s the other. In this microcosm of British murk, the prospect of a night of gnarled noise behind the MOTH Club’s red poppy feels like a necessary outlet.

Bo Gritz bring plenty of the municipal smog in with them, and are possessed of an arachnid nastiness. Their spindly punk is urgent and abrasive, honed to sharp points that dig around in your inner ear. This is the raw, loose shred of 70’s anarcho-punk with a backline of driving 80s post punk, and it’s all over too soon.

If Bo Gritz are tatty jeans and dirty t-shirts, Destruction Unit are big boots and blonde undercuts. Their presence is a dangerous blend of confrontation and intrigue, their output dizzying in its sheer volume. Furious strobe flashes perpetuate the assault, freezing the audience in a series of stuttering frames; a stunned gathering in a Guantanamo interrogation room. On a less intense night, Destruction Unit might play music to move too, but right now, sandwiched between the jaundiced Moth Club light and the rising smell of spilled beer on upholstery, the black energy emitting from the stage demands submission. Their drone is a physical presence that rattles eyeballs and annihilates stereocilia, less a sonic landscape and more a speeding wall of brick-hard noise. As a display of force, of pure intent, their set is unparalleled.

Tonight’s focus on power and volume leaves little room for the nuance Destruction Unit are capable of. Their more concise punk is overlooked in favour of an expanded ‘Disinfect’ and barrelling ‘If Death Ever Slept’, in which Ryan Rousseau’s vocals are completely lost in the three-guitar riptide. Still, it’s hard to feel short-changed. While it’s light on physical carnage, the caustic dirge Destruction Unit achieve tonight is a genuine feat.