Henge, Jacques Malchance Organ Works: Future Yard, Birkenhead
Henge’s charm makes for an impressive start, but it doesn’t take long for us to question how much is really going on beneath the surface.
Henge arrived on stage at Future Yard with a real sense of pure pomp. Lead wizard Zpor had the crowd in the palm of his hands and the strange masked creatures from took their place behind him.
For some of the more inexperienced people in the audience, it was already too weird. We heard some of them say as much outside. This was strange because while it wasn’t exactly your run of the mill band, it was no weirder than The Mighty Boosh.
For the uninitiated, Henge are a concept band. They make a grand statement about being from another planet and coming to Earth to play music we’ve never heard before. It is good music – atmospheric synthesisers, hypnotic beats, rich guitars – but I’m not sure we could say we’ve never heard it before.
It was fun. For a while. But it got a little old. It didn’t feel like there was anything much deeper going on beneath the surface. It doesn’t necessarily have to, but fantasy is such a blank canvas for satire and commentary that the end result felt a little anti-climatic.
It is interesting looking at this wizard on stage and we couldn’t help compare to George Clinton’s Dr Funkenstein persona. Behind the ridiculousness of the costumes and nonsense phrasing, there is the story of afrofuturism and commentary on black America in the 20th century. It is intelligence presented as lunacy.
Perhaps it went over our heads – and we’re willing to hold our hands up if that was the case – but we weren’t feeling this from Henge. It just felt like the lunacy part. Talented lunacy, for sure (despite the silly masks, you could tell they were great musicians). But pretty hollow by the end.
Perhaps it would be something that would feel greater on the festival circuit. We could imagine stumbling upon them at Bluedot and loving it. But on a rainy night in Birkenhead, it didn’t quite have the same affect.
Talented but with a touch less lunacy and more of a “if Bob Ross had more fun in the 60’s and ended up sitting in front of an organ instead of a canvas” vibe, Jacques Malchance Organ Works opened the evening with an impassioned and strangely mesmerising solo organ set, which is sentence we never thought we’d say, much due to the exuberant enthusiasm which he brings to his playing which is warmly applauded by the small crowd as he gratefully smiles and clasps his hands to his chest whilst departing the stage.