Fluffer Pit Parties have earned a bit of a reputation for being nights of all-out, noise-laden carnage. Invisible walls are broken down as crowds watch their favourite bands from the front, side and rear. Traditional venues are foregone for something more underground. And musical acts tend to be the best selection of guitar-heavy acts on the market.
This notoriety rings true for the latest Fluffer Pit Party, held in the retro ballroom-esque surrounds that is the Hackney Arts Centre (or more commonly known as EPIC Dalston) last Friday (4 May).
Girls in Synthesis kick off the evening’s proceedings. It’s an early start and crowds are understandably sparse, especially considering how the warm sun and pre-bank holiday beer gardens beckon more so than the run-down dark basement in Dalston. But the band merely make up for the lacking bodies with thick, white noise. Crackles, feedback and garbled audio are mixed with charging drums and delightfully shouty vocals to a powerful performance, albeit underappreciated.
Things take a slower turn as psych-doom shamans Baba Naga take to the stage. It’s mesmerising stuff, with the set dipping and spiralling between meditative moments and crushingly heavy, ear-assaulting riffage that all successfully merge into each other. Between the hypnotic drone and trippy visuals being projected around the venue, it’s easy to be transported away to another reality.
Following on are Husky Loops, who play what can only be described as a form of indie-rock-meets-EDM. The genre-bending band are in very stark contrast with what came before. At times it feels like somebody is trying to find a radio station, at others it sounds like a brilliant collision of exciting noise. Pietro’s drumming is unfaltering, while lead singer Danio makes good use of the entire stage to engage the audience.
Of course, there’s no better band to bring the expected mayhem and rage of a Fluffer Pit Parties to a 360-degree party than Pulled Apart By Horses. They walk onto the stage with exultant swagger as Black Sabbath’s The Wizard blares in the background. And it doesn’t take long for them to get the crowd going. Classics such as The Big What If and I Punched A Lion In The Throat receive expected love, as do newer hits off their latest album The Haze.
“I feel like I need three masks of my face for the other three sides,” singer Tom Hudson remarks. And he has a point. Despite all angles of the stage being free game, people tend to congregate towards a front of the sound desk. That being said, a 360-degree mosh pit still manages to happen upon the frontman’s request. It doesn’t take long before revved-up attendees are running around the stage’s circumference in energetic furore as the band, drenched in sweat, thrash it out with gigantic grins on their face.
We doff our caps to you, Fluffer. Sure, it’s good to appreciate the classic gig format. But it’s also great to mix things up and give the people something a bit different.
Photos by Sam Huddleston