I suppose it’s the innate perversity of being an extreme metal fan, but I fuckin’ loved reading the following story, even though it involves the cancellation of a Napalm Death show in London.
As reported by the BBC News (and elsewhere), Napalm Death were scheduled to play a concert on March 22 at the the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was to be a “one-off experimental collaboration” called “Bustleholme” between the band and artist Keith Harrison.
Harrison, it seems, is a “resident ceramic artist” at the museum. Having no fuckin’ idea what that meant, I did a little research and discovered (here) that Harrison specializes in transforming clay into ceramic in a live setting through the use of industrial and electric electrical power sources.
For the Napalm Death collaboration, Harrison created three “ceramic sound systems” based on the tiles used on buildings in the Bustleholm Mill estate in West Bromwich, where he grew up. As described in press reports, Napalm Death were going to jack into these sound systems and likely destroy them through the output of their music. I would love to have seen that.
Yesterday, however, the V&A Museum canceled the performance, as explained in the following priceless announcement:
“It is with regret that we have taken the decision to cancel the one-off Napalm Death performance in collaboration with our ceramic artist in residence Keith Harrison.
“This was due to take place in the Europe Galleries which are currently being refurbished and a further safety inspection has revealed concerns that the high level of decibels generated by the concert would damage the historic fabric of the building.
“The V&A is committed to an exciting programme of exhibitions and events but the safety of our visitors and building remains our priority at all times.”
According to the BBC story, “Before the concert was cancelled, Napalm Death’s frontman, Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway, said he was looking forward to it. ‘Sound as a weapon – or a weapon of change – is a very interesting concept and I think that the whole process of our sound gradually degrading clay sculptures is captivating,’ he said.”
“Captivating” probably isn’t the adjective I would have used. More like, “motherfuckin’ awesome!!”
So, quite a disappointment. However, as reasons for gig cancellations go, the risk of sonic destruction of the venue is a damned good one, don’t you think?