Friday, November 18, 2005

This Week’s Gigs
Smash and I went to see Removal at the Brickyard Wednesday night. We Trowered* it pretty well. They were playing their second or third song when we got in the door. The crowd was pretty thin, so I was glad we could bolster the numbers a bit. No matter how crummy the venue, Removal always sound tremendous—lean and uncluttered, with each instrument dialed in perfectly from the stage. The set was marked by a few little mistakes, but they played a couple new numbers, including a cover of “Anthem” by that other Canadian power trio.

Said hi to their drummer after the set and bought their new single, featuring guest vocalist Peaches. They’re venturing into CFOX land next Tuesday, playing The Roxy with The (excellent) Feminists. That’s a must-see show, despite the club in question. (Those Roxy ads every week the Straight make me nauseous.) I hope no one slips me a roofie.

*Trower (v): to show up late to a gig, derived from my friend Sox’s late arrival at a Robin Trower concert many years ago.

Tuesday night we saw the Dillinger Escape Plan/Hella/Between the Buried and Me/Horse the Band at The Red Room, another mediocre place to see (or partially see) a show. Because of the long line-up for ID and coat check, Horse the Band were already playing by the time we got in. They were a fantastic train wreck, rocking out with indomitable spirit, especially when their keyboard died in the middle of a song, an event that generated great hilarity among the rest of the band as they thrashed away.

North Carolina’s Between the Buried and Me, one of the tightest, sickest bands on earth right now, only had half an hour (about five songs worth) to kill everyone in attendance. Kicking off with “All Bodies” from the new album was a good way to start, with its mix of technical death grind and sea shanty singalong parts. They followed that with “Autodidact,” “Alaska,” and “The Primer” from the new album, and a song from The Silent Circus to finish. It’s a shame they didn’t get to play longer—I would have liked to hear them pull off the insane “Selkies: The Endless Obsession” live—but all the bands were on a tight schedule tonight. If Mastodon don’t break big with their next album, BtBaM surely must be the next most likely purveyors of facemelt to cross over into the mainstream. Someone’s going to do it; it’s only a matter of time.

Hella’s freeform jazz-skronk was hard to digest. They would have fit nicely on the Sunn O)))/Boris/Thrones bill I saw last month, an event that made questions like “what kind of music is this?” and “can these guys actually play?” obsolete. At times, especially later in the set, I heard hints of melody and structure through the din, but not enough for a breakthrough into the enjoyment zone.

The Dillinger Escape Plan clearly thrive on pushing the limits of personal safety, blending musical and physical chaos into an awesome live experience. I’m not really a big fan, but I respect any band that pushes themselves as hard as they do—constant thrashing, hanging off the PA stacks, and jumping into the audience, all while playing rabid jazz/metalat a million MPH. They’re impressive performers and—not to forget--musicians, even if I don’t think they have songs of the same caliber as BtBaM. The Red Room, more packed than I’ve ever seen, erupted
for the whole hour DEP played.

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