HEXA @ Howard Assembly Room, 17/02/17

HEXA @ Howard Assembly Room, 17/02/17

This concert was not for the faint hearted. HEXA have created a musical response to David Lynch’s ‘Factory Photographs’, a collection of images Lynch took of disused factories and the ruins of industry in the USA, Poland, Germany and the UK.

As a massive David Lynch fan I was eager to check it out, and watching the show was like entering a Lynchian nightmare. The black and white photos depicted desolate factories, machinery and barbed wire. The music was equally void of humanity as they used synthesisers and computers to make harsh, metallic and utterly terrifying sounds. I should have guessed how intense the show would be as before it started the ushers were actually handing out earplugs.

The tensest moment was right before they started playing. Then all of a sudden noises of sirens, gunfire and scratchy violins exploded in to the room. It built to the point where it felt like torture. The intensity kept increasing and reached the peak when they started playing wailing screams. This created a hellish atmosphere that was so overwhelming several couples walked out after a few minutes.

It was hard not to feel trapped as the photos worked with the music to produce something extreme. I felt uncomfortable throughout and several times I caught my face wincing. The images were shocking and the music succeeded in matching this sense of dread. Even though I hated the experience, I couldn’t get it out of my head and I guess that was the whole point. 

It showed how music and art can combine to create something powerful and thought-provoking. 

Lucy Ingram

(Image: Opera North)

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