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Comanechi was formed in Hackney, London in 2005 by Akiko 'Keex' Matsuura (The Big Pink, Pre) and Simon Petrovitch, with drummer Charlie Heaton joining later. Their debut album 'Crime of Love' (Merok) was released in 2010, and a follow-up titled 'You Owe Me Nothing But Love' (Tigertrap) on Valentine's Day this year. The band have opened for the likes of Gossip, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Blood Red Shoes, and have several festival performances under their belt both home and abroad. A fierce mix of heavy riffs, edgy vocals and unstoppable energy, there was promise of a good night to be had at the Borderline.

Having secured the prestigious main support slot for Lydia Lunch's RetroVirus, Comanechi's set kicks off with 'Rabbit Hole' from the debut album, a sure-fire winner in the noise rock stakes. The three-piece make a racket that makes the walls shake, and the mixed crowd nod along. The tiny Akiko Matsuura seems to have lungs the size of the planet. 'Major Move' is a slinkier, slackerish number with offbeat screams, and sounds like something Sonic Youth or the 90s indie band Whale would have been proud of. There is no bassist in the band, Petrovitch taking care to ensure enough noise is coming from his guitar at all times, and judging by the size of the pedal board he is using, there shouldn't be any problems with that. The live version of 'Die For' off the latest album is manic, with Matsuura jumping around like a lunatic in her black lacy jumpsuit. The energy is infectious and it is pleasing to see a band take over an uncertain audience. Before launching into 'Death Of You', again from the debut album, the singer, smiling coyly, explains to the crowd that they need to join in the chorus of 'you suck big cock', much to their amusement, and they dutifully obey when the time arrives. The song knocks the socks off many of the punters with the catchy hooks and it looks like the band are gaining quite a few new fans this evening. Akiko picks up a guitar and starts strumming the riff to 'Love Is The Cure'. Don't be fooled by the girly pop soundscape of the song in the beginning, as underneath there is a beast dying to get out and when it does, there is nowhere to hide. 

The doom metal-like guitars on 'Death Threat' bring another dimension to the evening's proceedings, with Akiko screaming her lungs out. This is totally primal and despite a few bewildered faces in the audience, most seem to be totally captivated by what they are witnessing. Comanechi, with their own flavour of art punk, are a very fitting support for an evening with Lydia Lunch. The babyfaced drummer breaks a snare and following a quick replacement from the other support band, the gig continues. 'Mesmerising Fingers' has a nice grungey feel and I cannot shake the feeling that I am watching Thurston Moore with Petrovitch hiding behind his hair throughout the gig. The set closer 'Patsy' is introduced by Akiko as being about her toy poodle (interestingly, the song opens with the lyrics 'she's a whore'). It's a heavy, psychedelic set closer and ends with sheer noise. All in all, Comanechi are an excellent live band, and in Matsuura the band have a formidable frontwoman, a quirky mixture of feminine charm and take-no-shit attitude.

Lydia Lunch is touring with her band RetroVirus, showcasing selected cuts from her entire back catalogue. There are no gimmicks at the show tonight as the band run through several classics, the highlight being 'Afraid Of Your Company' - an intense track oozing with misery from every single note. The band consists of Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbarchers) on guitar, Algis Kizys (Swans, Foetus) on bass and Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore) on drums. Unsurprisingly, the band sound beyond excellent, with Lydia Lunch announcing the year of each song before it begins. The lady in black can still hold an audience and the dark, at times unsettling rhythmic changes and the sheer charisma wafting from stage made for an intense evening in the packed Borderline. 

Review by Anne Johanna
Photo by Youko

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