Crystal Antlers - I was torn between this show or seeing Anthrax up in Silver Spring. Since all Metro trains stopped at Fort Totten that night, I did not bother investigating other ways to get there, instead opting for this show with bands I've heard of, but have not heard a note. It took about 5, maybe 10 notes into this when I realized I had lucked into the right choice. Boom! Comets on Fire reborn! My, how I've missed that band. These guys line up with drums, keys, guitar and a bass player that handles the lead vocals. After a nice spacey easing in to the first song, the sonic power exploded into psyche guitar, wild anguished vocals, ripping drums, and synth/keys with real heft. They dropped it down a notch and showed some prog moves not unlike my favorite heavy progsters--King Crimson and Opeth. Pulverising prog and psyche continued with a modern touch. There are even some nice pop hooks buried within and the vocalist can carry a tune and not merely scream intensely. There was also a touch of sonic follow-through from last night's headliner, the Blackberry Belles along with some of my favorite intense European acts like Aphrodite's Child or maybe Mynd Music? Compare it as you like, it all worked extremely well with the large crowd tonight. I only wished it was a bit more than the 31 minutes, but I am happy as I have a new favorite band.
WU LYF Press Photo, NY, Paul McGiver
Wu Lyf - Wikipedia says the band describes their music as "heavy pop". That's a good place to start as I see two things I truly like about this band. They hail from the fertile ground of Manchester, England but don't sound like a clone of any of the great band there, but more of a talented and smart progression. The second thing I like is the really divergent styles at work. The music is dream pop with plenty of bite at times, but the vocals are harsh and edgy (thus giving the heavy to it all). They remind me of the Troggs' Reg Presley singing for Midge Ure's Ultravox! The music does shift around nicely from song to song which is great as the rhythmic pop elements could get a little routine. They do just enough to rise above and with the intense vocals that seem to bring in shoegaze and post punk intensities, they really deliver fascinating music. It is more to their philosophy that reminds me of the shift made by Jason Pearce from Spacemen 3 to Spiritualized. This music was not nearly as immediate as what I enjoyed from the opener, but it really created such an intriguing vibe, that I would like to take it in again some time. It's catchy and only briefly too safe, but I think many listens will bring out some of the genius they seem to have. A nearly full club had a mix of intense fans up front and intrigued people like myself scattered around in the middle and back. Tonight was another reminder to take in new sounds as it is amazing what you can discover.
Quote of the Night: From the opener... "Hey Lighting Man, what happened to the strobe lights? Do you expect us to entertain just with our music?"