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Napalm Death gig threatens structure of historic De La Warr Pavilion

The V&A previously cancelled a Napalm Death gig due to concerns that the high level of decibels would damage the historic museum
  • @adamsherwin10

The art deco curves of the De La Warr Pavilion survived a war-time pounding from German bombers. But now the East Sussex landmark will be shaken to its foundations after agreeing to stage a performance by the extreme metal band Napalm Death which threatens to cause severe structural damage.

The grindcore band, notorious for their brief blasts of detuned guitars and incomprehensible, howling vocals, have been granted permission to stage a performance at the Pavilion which had previously been cancelled by the V&A, due to concerns that the high level of decibels would damage the historic fabric of the London museum.

The Bexhill on Sea venue has boldly stepped in tonight (Friday) to host “Bustleholme”, a live collaboration between Napalm Death and former V&A Ceramics Resident Keith Harrison.

The band, will play through a public address system specially made by the ceramicist, using clay to test the power of the sound they can produce.

Harrison has built a wooden sound system with 10 speakers he has filled with liquid clay and allowed it to solidify.

As the four-man band starts to play, the raw-energy of the sound produced will reverberate inside the clay, causing it to slowly crack, disintegrate and explode, changing the music as it does.

The speakers are clad with blue and yellow ceramic tiles based on the group of vivid blue and yellow tiled tower blocks on the Bustleholme Mill Estate, West Bromwich where Harrison was born.

Harrison said: “Napalm was my band of choice, they really understood the project. We needed a group with a lot of attitude to show the power of sound and the energy it has to destroy. It’s interesting to see how electrical power can change material, like clay. It can warm it up, break it down or completely change its state, which means the gig will be both visually and aurally entertaining.”

The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea (Getty)

The Pavilion, constructed in 1935 and designed by the architects Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, suffered minor damage to its foundations when the Metropole hotel adjacent to the building's western side was destroyed by German bombers during the Second World War.

Tickets were given away free for the performance, which has sold out. But the Pavilion’s website warns concert-goers that “Grindcore is an extreme version of heavy metal music and will be extremely loud.”

Napalm Death, once favourites of John Peel, earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the shortest recorded song ever recorded with You Suffer, which clocked in at 1.316 seconds.

Formed in 1981, the band’s debut album Scum has proved hugely influential in metal circles. They enjoy international recognition and their latest album, Utilitarian, reached No 14 on Billboard’s  US Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart.

Bustleholme will be streamed live and audience members are asked to download the Vyclone App to record, upload and share footage from the show instantly as they are watching the performance. http://vyclone.com/