Horse Lords - This powerful package tour begins tonight at the DC9 and we start with a set from a Baltimore quartet who are new to me. 28 minutes later, the strong impression they stamped on me and the rest of the sizable crowd will be embedded in my memory for some time. They are fully instrumental with bass and a guitar capable of many interesting tones (I kept looking for a keyboardist hiding in the shadows). They also began with two drummers and aside from my brain yelling 'less cowbell'!, these guys integrated well and kept things really tight. There is a mix of intricacy and churning riffs, so they fit comfortably between the droners and the Frippians. And when the one drummer rolled a saxophone, a whole new sonic blast was found. Fine music from a band who hopefully will return here soon after they get some rest from this tour.
Sannhet - This trio from Brooklyn comes on with a dark stage, backdrop film, quiet music, building tension... then -bam- a thick hard hitting riff band emerges who start with a thunderous rock approach until they add the swirling psychedelic guitar sounds that create the many subtextures that make this music easy to grab on to, but tough to hold. It is all quite good, not the be all end all of this style, but a fine approach with guys that control their sound well and have plenty of energy to sustain it throughout the set. They are fully instrumental, so the vocals of our headliner are going to be positively Sinatra-esque.
Liturgy - This is my third time for me and it is quite exciting as I was not sure it would happen again when the last time around was the last tour for one of the best drummers on the planet who was going off to do electronica. Well, thankfully he is back with the bassist and two guitarists in front and they have a new and intriguing album to display tonight. The sound is somewhere between the Swans and death metal. It is not for everybody, but if you like things heavy, Liturgy offers a very compelling approach. The drummer breaks a lot of rules in his magical creations the same way Keith Moon did--it works, but it is not clear how and not too many drummers can recreate what happens here. The axemen are linked together in one powerful roar that conjures up familiar and unfamiliar melodies bouncing off of each other in the songs. The vocals, well they are far from Sinatra, in fact they seem oddly atonal and detached, but yet they somehow fit into the logic of this band as well. If they are headed to your town, see what sense you can make of this. It is far more a challenge to put into words, then it is to just sit back and absorb these fascinating waves of intensity.
Quote of the Night: from a conversation nearby...
"...Vasco da Gama?"