Concert Reviews

Ben Frost, Nick Storring at The Garrison

With at least eight projectors shining bizarre designs onto the stage, Nick Storring was washed away by lucid lighting. He was alone on stage with his electric cello and a table of electronic equipment. It was him vs. the world as he spent around half an hour creating soundscapes that brought forth an array of emotions we cannot hide from. Storring considered himself a terrible speaker when it comes to banter, but his instrumental music spoke enough for us to get who he is. That may have been how it seemed, but really, we never got the Nick Storring we thought we would have had, had we done our research. His studio work is entirely different; He works with orchestral arrangements. He claims to not work electronics at all in the studio.

Then there’s the fact that all of his set was improvised. He would play a melody or chord on his cello and record these sounds at the same time. He used some other sources of noise as well (such as his voice and a harmonica) for his tricks. These recordings would be tampered with to the point of unrecognizable oblivion. These sounds were looped, distorted, skewed and beaten up through his electronic equipment. He made a handful of songs that were stretched and creased until we were lost: Which song was this one again? They were stunning ambient pieces that tossed us into the sky without gravity there to weigh us down. Storring’s set was relaxing and thought provoking. He was like a living art instillation piece that could have been studied and analyzed, despite all of this music being made up on the spot.

The projectors were gone when Ben Frost was out. Instead of a colourful array of spillage, we didn’t have a backdrop at all. We saw seven strobe lights sitting in front of our very eyes, just waiting to knock us back through the way we came in. I was to actually photograph this show, but then I was told to not bother because of how “elaborate” the light show was. That’s one way of putting it. As soon as he started, the fog machine was cranked to puff out as much mist as possible. The strobe lights went off (five small, two large) and within a minute I was sick to my stomach. The mist kept growing and the lights kept battering us. As if I was staring into the eyes of death itself, I slowly began to welcome this fate. As the set went on, I was actually used to the strobe lights. At this point, the fog was so thick that I could see nothing but flashing lights and a silhouette of a viking spirit (Frost certainly does loom over his audience on stage). 

I’m not sure if an alien spaceship had landed in front of me or if I had passed away and was staring at the great interviewer himself, but I was transfixed. He strummed his guitar and blasted bass at insane volumes. We were certainly unable to move, as we were all hypnotized by both the intense visual display and the extremely loud music. Like Storring’s set, this felt a lot like an art piece; Only this time, we were a part of it. I was lost in my thoughts while my senses were being stepped on to the point of suffocation. I was pulled out of my body as the room became a test of the mind. I’m partially glad that I didn’t have to shoot this show, as it allowed me to truly be sucked into this unusual mindset that Ben Frost had carefully planned out. It was certainly a fascinating concert experience, and it was a droning moment that was the closest thing to, well, truly living in limbo that I have felt at a show thus far.

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.