Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ancients w/Burning Ghats, Nylithia, Cathar, and Graves, March 23 at the Rickshaw Theatre

Having recently recorded what's rumoured to be an amazing full-length album at The Hive, Ancients decided to kick off the next big phase of their existence with this show at The Rickshaw. It's a large venue for a local showcase gig, but they drew an impressive crowd—bigger than for many of the touring acts I've seen there.

Graves started the night with some tight, hardcore-infused metal. The quartet looked awfully young up there. I wouldn't say they were breaking any new ground, but they kept it straight-up and unpretentious at least. Courtney Karg led the way with her scathing vocals. A solid opening set!

I last caught East Van sludge grinders Cathar at DIEcember Fest last year at the Biltmore. They were even better this time out. They've got something sick and twisted going on. Movie dialogue samples link their short, blunt songs, and their frontman kind of mumbles to himself during moments when nothing else is happening. Scabrous and hateful, sure, but pretty entertaining as well.

Nylithia shredded the place. I saw them a few years ago at one of my friend Colin's Food 4 Music shows, but I wasn't prepared for the thrashing they laid down this time. As if their insane musicianship wasn't enough of a spectacle, they brought out a giant cardboard "Trainsaw" prop, which proved no match for the crowd, who tore it apart as soon as it was offered to them. One resourceful dude used the detached sawblade to terrorize the pit for a little while.

Burning Ghats were yet another band I was seeing for a second time, and again, their set was pure chaos and ferocity—a storm of flailing guitars, twisting bodies, and feedback. If Southern Lord got on board with Baptists, then they should definitely take a look at Burning Ghats as well. They took the gig to the heights of madness, providing the perfect setting for Ancients to mellow us out (relatively speaking) with some hard-riffing heavy rock.

Ancients are all amazing players and a killer live act. If you're into old-school-meets-new-school metal in the manner of Mastodon and Baroness, you really need to check out Ancients. It's a big stage at the Rickshaw, and they looked awesome up there. It helps that guitar teammates Kenny and Chris play left and right-handed respectively, creating that golden "V" of axe-necks. They sounded great too—the Rickshaw PA had been consistent (and loud) all night. I didn't time their set, but they must have played the better part of an hour...and it whizzed by, with song after quality song where the only criteria seemed to be "Does this part rule? If it does, it's in." I have no doubt this album of theirs is going to rule as well. For the grande finale, they brought out Kyle (Nylithia's vocalist) and Sacrifice bassist Scott Watts for a mighty dash through what might as well be Canada's official HM anthem: Sacrifice's "Reanimation." Respect was given and tribute was paid in spades. Jesse dove off the stage to his apparent death (yet again) and there was no encore demanded or necessary. Nothing could have topped that. Well played, Ancients.

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