Set throughout a run-down Georgian house, musical collective Bottlenote put on a show that consensually transports listeners to a different time and place.
The first room was darkened, filled with ambient sounds. The musicians were only visible by a purple light and faced each other while a crowd gathered round. The place had a real haunted house vibe. At times, it sounded like a radio being tuned. Music would fade in and out. Merry old trad distorted to add to that haunted ambiance. The setting was key for that. An abandoned Georgian residence that was decrepit and ruined, it still maintains a power. Honestly, it was in bits.
Where there’s paint, it’s cracked. Where there’s wallpaper, it’s yellowed and peeling. The ceiling was broken and so exposed that you could see the floorboards of the room above you. As one woman put it, it’s the kind of spot where hard hats might be encouraged. Still, I’d rather squat in there then pay actual money for some of the accommodation on offer in Dublin. Grumble, grumble. Dial-up sounds bring me back into the room. A person comes up beside me like a ghost and scares the bejaysus out of me. He’s that house’s problem now. A weird set of white noise that makes one think of that scene in the horror film where the spirits contact people through a television. It’s unsettling. Nobody was dancing, I assure you. When do I get to leave this room? Where has the door gone?
The house is ready for tonight. Ticket holders only please. No guest list, we are 100% sold out both shows. Now we think about the music!
— Bottlenote (@Bottlenotemusic) September 10, 2017
The second room had more conventional music. One chap played a type of flute or woodwind instrument and his partner played a sarod, which is a stringed Indian instrument. What they were playing had a strange air to it. Music that reminded one of sad compromise, of living in mysterious danger. The lighting added to a sense of foreboding. Then we were led into the next room, featuring one man at a drum kit and another at a keyboard. Or maybe it was a synthesizer. The fella in front of me seemed determined to stop me from getting a clear look at it. I could see the other chap rubbing styrofoam off his drum kit to musical effect. This was the most intense set yet.
The two kept shooting fierce expressions at one another. They appeared to know what it meant. Before long, we could feel the mallet drumsticks in our bones. There was a pot lid involved. They were really rocking out. The cymbals were being battered. Then, four musicians appeared outta nowhere, our lads from earlier. This is a collective after all. My goodness, they combined to great effect. Surrounding us in their ritual circle, looking around at the different reactions to it was good fun. Several people had their eyes closed, some looked bewildered. It would make your head spin.