Lazer/Wulf - We begin with another one of those freaky Georgia bands (also including tonight's headliner) that are making me completely rethink that state. This trio is heavy and loud with a lot of progressive post rock intricacies dancing around the powerful fast paced riffing. The drumming has some swing to it at times which helps shake the senses. There is a vocal mic that is used briefly for a few grunts and yelps until inexplicably some 29 minutes into the 31 minute set, the guitarist sings a verse. Amusing, which is perfectly ok as these guys are having fun with the music and most of the audience is, too. It was an early start, so it was good to see the eight people there at the start to expand to over 50 by set's end. I am happy I was there from the beginning as I would gladly see these guys again when next they come to town.
White Hills - Geeze, I just had a typo where I had typed "Shite Hills" which proves that all slips are certainly not Freudian ("Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"). Nothing could be further from the truth as this trio is a very interesting and enjoyable band. The rhythm section lays it down thickly with a moderate to brisk tempo throughout. The guitarist has loads of effects and some background samples that swirl together in a psychedelic maelstrom that connects most all the time. The two vocalists blend well together, but this amount of reverb, that is sort of a given. It's kind of Hawkwind/Entrance Band sort of thing with the sound winning out more than the song, aside from a couple that stood out as having some individual personality. Strong band, this as their experience shows with enough enthusiasm to make for an excellent set.
Blood Ceremony - This Toronto quartet features the usual trio and adds a woman on vocals, keyboards, and flute. They have the requisite heaviness needed tonight, but have an old-school style that stands out, although not always in a good light. I like the flute as it is nice to hear something beyond the cliches. The keyboards are ok, but the overall music is just a little too quaint for me. There is a theatrical sense that veers toward Alice Cooper. I like the variety on the bill tonight, although I am not sure I would go out of my way to see this band on their own, unlike the previous two bands. Still, they were over with the crowd in a pretty big way, so it worked well enough on a four-band bill.
Kylesa - This is the third or fourth time I have seen this Savannah, Georgia band work their brand of metal magic on a DC stage. It has been a while, which they alluded to, but they were welcomed back by a fairly full club (4/5 or so) tonight. It is a shame that the initial sonic burst was so far off from what the intended, as their soundman did not have the levels where anything went together at any sort of volume or clarity. He kept working it and it slowly evolved into that intense wall of swirling psychedelic metal you expect from this quintet. They have two drummers which is a great way for them to set the bar high for their bassist and two guitarists to work off of. Two of them also use keyboards, electronics, a theremin and some sort of upside down skateboard wired with guitar strings. When the sound got cooking, they were able to find a great balance between psychedelic swoosh and powerful metal riffing. The two vocalists work well alternating with either intensity or atmospheric touches. This is truly one of the best (sort of) metal bands working today, provided you like a little experimentation. I do have to say that because the sound threw me off so much, that only the second half of the set had me really happily lost in their music. Still, this was an excellent night of heavy rock at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel, and I would do it again if they offered it tonight.
Quote of the Day: From the opening band after their first song... "There were less of you when we started that song, so you must be breeding."