LIVE: No Joy / Entrance @ Moth Club, London

By Glen Bushell

People have been trying to categorise No Joy since their formation. The fact that it is so difficult adds to their appeal, and following their stunning album, ‘More Faithful’, they have been heralded as the best “shoegaze” band of the last few years. That term doesn’t really fit the Canadian quartet, as despite the rows of effects pedals, you wont find No Joy staring longingly at their feet. That much becomes apparent from their set at Moth Club tonight, which is one of only two UK shows from No Joy on their whirlwind European tour ahead of their forthcoming EP, ‘Drool Sucker’.

Before we have our hearing virtually destroyed by No Joy, it is down to Entrance to open proceedings up this evening. After recently signing to Thrill Jockey there has been an increased buzz about Entrance, and tonight sees guitarist Guy Blakeslee performing a solo set. When backed by a full band, their twisted psychedelia is a far more intense prospect than the stripped back efforts Blakeslee on his own. While clearly a very talented musician and consummate performer, the set is somewhat underwhelming. Not to take anything away from Blakeslee but it feels like it just wasn’t his night tonight.

From the moment feedback and white noise emanates from the stage, No Joy waste no time in making their presence felt. They launch straight into the lurching bass line of ‘Lizard Kids’ and from here on out play a career spanning set. Whether it’s the blistering cacophony of ‘Slug Night’ or the more subdued and lucid ‘Hare Tarot Lies’, they are mesmerising – and deafeningly loud. Regardless of her not interacting with the crowd much, vocalist/guitarist Jasamine White-Glutz is on fine form. When coupled with an array of samples and effects her vocals are both intoxicating and harrowing in equal measure, allowing the music to do the talking for her.

Despite the notable absence of Laura Lloyd, who formed No Joy along with White-Glutz, their live show remains an aural endurance test and still the songs shimmer through the haze. ‘A Thorn In Garlands Side’, the first track to be lifted from their Topshelf Records debut, ‘Drool Sucker’, cuts through the sonic punishment like a knife, and they take things back to their 2010 debut, ‘Ghost Blonde’ with the unrelenting garage-fuzz of ‘Hawaii’. They close out the set with a searing version of ‘E’ which reaches a climatic hail of wailing drums and unnerving noise at its cadence.

No encore is necessary tonight as they crammed everything they needed into their set. Call them whatever genre or sub-genre you like, but tonight they sounded like one band only – No Joy.