Model/Actriz | Jerome

Dareshack, Bristol

7th November 2023

Photography by George Ward

George Ward
George Ward

Freelance journalist based in Bristol. Can be found at the Grain Barge, Rough Trade or in his tiny basement bedroom writing for CLUNK.

New York group Model/Actriz brought their exhilarating, flamboyant and empowering noise to Bristol’s Dareshack with hypnotic support from Jerome

When you first listen to Model/Actriz’s debut album ‘Dogsbody’, it can be quite a disconcerting experience. You’ll recognise how experimental and noisy it is but there’ll also be a part of you nodding your head and wanting to move. You might wonder just how this would come to life in a live setting. 

Before we could find this out, we were treated to one of the most surprising and confident support sets I’ve seen this year. As we walked through the lovely bar area of Dareshack into the incredibly dark studio area, we were immediately sucked in. Jerome’s electronics, paired with hypnotic live visuals, created a wonderfully atmospheric experience. By the end of her set, I had almost forgotten why we were even there and would have been happy to watch another couple of hours. 

But, a few minutes later, the headliners appeared. I’m pleased to report that a Model/Actriz gig is somehow even more exciting, liberating and playful than the album. Throwing themselves in with no remorse, the band kicked off with album openers ‘Donkey Show’ and ‘Mosquito’; the room turned from crowd to mosh pit instantly. 

Cole’s vocals are even more unpredictable than on the studio recording; his screams of “With the body count higher than a mosquito” would fit in nicely at a hardcore gig. In a similar way to Fat Dog earlier this year, his energy was so infectious and animated that you could not possibly take your eyes off him. 

As they blasted their way through their setlist, from manic highs of ‘Crossing Guard’ to the disturbing lows of ‘Winnipesaukee’, the crowd were entirely locked in. While the crowd engulfed him in the mosh pit, the real highlights of the show came from the intense connection he had with the crowd, to a level I’ve never seen with any band before.

At several moments, Cole would place himself head-to-head with an audience member, staring directly in their eyes and singing directly into their soul. It was so unique, haunting and uncomfortably intimate in a way that would not work with any other band. 

Despite the frontman’s flamboyant performance being the highlight, the rest of the band were also fantastic. Somehow recreating the noise of the album on the stage, their energy was relentless, with very little room to breathe. 

In our interview with them earlier this year, Cole said this: “What I want to invite is the audience to feel more comfortable with the idea of exposing or humiliating or making themselves vulnerable to whatever emotional experience they’re going through. The theatre of it is the conduit for people to feel more at home with their bodies and the environment around them.”

It is not until you are in the room with Model/Actriz that you can truly understand just how successful they are at achieving this. The crowd committed completely to their twisted vision and I, as I’m sure everyone else did, felt liberated, fascinated and strangely completely at ease despite the chaos around me. 

Read our interview with Model/Actriz here.

Listen to ‘Dogsbody’ here:

Let us know what you think!