The fact that a tour like this can be put together at all is a testament to the vitality of the live music scene and its persistent underlying support for aggressive music innovation. Weedeater brought along a supporting lineup with just the right mix of groove, grease, angst, and audacity to the Rickshaw last week – which isn’t to say that we don’t love the big tours with their parade of massively popular acts, but this night’s performances were a monumental display of heavy music ingenuity.
Opener BOG demonstrated an incredible new synergy in the deceptive haphazardry of their performance. While waves of fog partially obscured the the quintet’s sprawling sonic chaos, vocalist Johnny Matter led the outfit’s woozy lurchings through their tightest set this reviewer has witnessed to date. The highly unstable concoction of thrashy sludge (thrudge?) spilled, like greasy beef from a cracked taco, to the delight of the large and enthusiastic flock of earlybirds in attendance. (It is worth noting here that, given the utter chaos one experiences from a BOG set, we have elected to include a second gallery below to better document the bedlam.)
Portland’s Lord Dying have clearly benefited from a year of massive touring – including a European assault which afforded the trio a rare opportunity to witness firsthand the surreal mastery of Hieronymus Bosch’s art at an exhibition in the Netherlands – which may explain the intensity of their inspired performance. Executed with unholy precision, the rifflords carved off slab after slab of chugging metal pandemonium to demonstrate that a vast body of complex riffology remains to be explored in the realm of heavy music and the unholy Lord Dying will be our guide.
Despite their legacy of two decades’ worth of angular experimental aggressive music, Sunday’s show was the first opportunity this reviewer has had to witness Today Is the Day in live performance. A vivid, searing burn of schizoid dissonance, the Southern Lord act’s set exemplified all that is right and good in the world of heavy music, sonically and lyrically. Founder and vocalist Steve Austin nevertheless expressed profound gratitude for the appreciative audience at the end of the band’s set, which should serve as a reminder that the longevity of even the greatest acts depends upon the support of its fans and listeners.
Visionary San Diego doomsday machine Author & Punisher has graced Vancouver with its distorted mechanical drone overtures several times in recent memory but the Rickshaw performance is the first time that the one-man sonic steamroller aka Tristan Shone has unleashed his percussive art noise at a large local venue. Viewers fascinated by the genuinely industrial spectacle crowded as close to the stage as possible to marvel at the alien assembly of wires and levers which corralled the lone operator in an ad hoc cockpit of mechanized doom. Aside from a couple of technical glitches caused by palpitating hard drives (computer manufacturers have missed an opportunity by failing to produce shock-proof devices for extreme musicians – Prurient‘s set opening for Godflesh at Venue last fall was similarly affected), A&P surpassed all expectations to deliver an exceptional set that clearly gained the project several new fans, judging by their fervent applause.
Finally, Weedeater (with momentary technical assistance by BOG’s Johnny Matter, pictured below) packed more wicked stoner grooves in their little fingers than most can cram in a hotboxed hatchback. ‘Nuff said! \m/ \m/
Gallery I: Weedeater, Author & Punisher, Today Is the Day, Lord Dying
Gallery II: The Desolation of BOG