Disappearer - We begin with a power trio from Boston. And there is plenty of power in the crushing steady riffs going in their approach. They are somewhere between Boris and the Melvins, closer to the latter. There is a hint of songwriting going on and it worked perfectly in an opening set. They might need to show a bit more variety if they go longer, but for what this was, this was very good. Again though, the volume was a bit much on the vocals, particularly that of the guitarist (which turned out NOT to be the case in subsequent sets, so I am not being wimpy here). A good start.
Russian Circles - We have another power trio from Chicago this time (not Brooklyn as I had joked with someone before the set). They stayed fully instrumental which can be a challenge if you don't have the songwriting or virtuous playing needed to keep things going. Well these guys had all that and then some. They began with some weird heavy psyche piece that reminded me of a great cult band from Sweden, Alrarnas Tradgard. They got heavier as they went on with some serious pace at times. The guitarist was laying down loops and their was lots of psyche vibes in the mix. The third song had a great eastern motif working as well (and I am always a sucker for that). I heard lots of sounds reminding me of other of my favorites like Mogwai, Motorpsycho, and Paik. Metal fans who like bands like Mastodon would enjoy these guys as well as fans of Sleep and the Melvins. But these guys carve their own territory and did a great job tonight.
Boris - I was hopeful of two things before this show. First, I was hoping Michio Kurihara of Ghost would be touring with them as been the case in recent years--check. Second, I had hoped that the club would fill up enough to justify this bump up from the Black Cat--check, not a sellout of course, but a sizable enthusiastic crowd. This Japanese outfit is one of my favorites as they are very heavy, but have good songs, a variety of styles from metal to hard pysche and to lush shoegaze. The transitions are smooth, the vocals good (both male and female) and have great style and command of their sound. They were absolutely off the charts tonight. They had a smoke machine puffing away and a far better than average light show (evident here)that really enhanced what was going on. Michio did his usual job of filling in with very subtle moves or very overt ways depending on what was needed. Wata's guitar playing was even more amazing than I recalled. Takeshi handled the middle of the stage with most of the vocals and moving around his double neck bass/guitar axe with his usual proficiency. Atsuo is the basic lunatic drummer who connects with all the crazed metal fans they have. He blasted away on his kit and gong and staod on his drums on the closer with the other three pounding away in a steady throb. He got the crowd going and joined them on a crowd surging run. The band finished up and wisely did not return for an encore as the closing was an absolutely perfect ending for an amazing evening. Do not miss this band if you like anything even remotely heavy in your rock listening. And with the opening acts, this was one great evening.
Quote of the Night: From numbskulls in front of me that couldn't even spoil this brilliant night as hard as they tried..."You need to do this" "Fuck you" "You know what, you're a pig" "Fuck You" "Fuck You"... Etc. ad nauseum. You know people, Scarface was a really shitty movie.