We’ve mentioned before our appreciation for eclectic lineups but Friday’s show at the Astoria receives top marks for audacious curation.
On first glance Cassette Merchant‘s presentation of Middle Eastern stringed music on bâglama and oud seemed a strange choice of opener for a show that otherwise promised loud, heavy, and distorted sounds; but coupled with the ongoing crowd chatter, the bustling ambience quickly evoked images of an exotic marketplace in a distant land, like a scene from the writings of William S. Burroughs in which surreal oddities lurk at the edges of awareness. Although the duo’s performance was clearly effective in its conjuring of hypnotic disquiet, a droning sitar may have provided the necessary anchor to keep those delicate, mesmerizing notes from getting lost amidst the crowd noise.
Ev0lution followed with a surprising set of crowd-pleasing hybrid metal and electronics. Operating as a two-piece with alternating guitarists and a bombastic live drummer, the outfit’s stripped-down mix of backing tracks (synths, samples, and death metal vocals) obviously worked for the audience as a dance-friendly, heavy metal bastard cousin of New York’s experimental electronic trio Battles.
The latest incarnation of BOG returned with new vocalist Harry Tuttle swooping in on wraithlike screeches. The smashed, bluesy groove evident on their self-titled 2015 full-length is still present, though sunk deeper in the sludgy quagmire of heavy riffs; though gradually regaining its footing on the path to a fully-evolved BOG 2.0, judging by Friday’s performance the band is now well on its way.
Launching the first raid of its west coast tour on Vancouver’s sleepy shore, Author & Punisher rumbled its way through a memorable set of distorted rhythmic drones and caustic melodies. Between songs chief engineer Tristan Shone noted that technical difficulties earlier that day had necessitated a stripped-down assemblage of instruments for the evening’s performance, but this improvised configuration did not detract from the overall affect and the crowd immediately recognized and welcomed several tracks from the most recent full-length Melk en Honing (last week a subsequent EP of new material Pressure Mine was released, delving back into more electronic territory and available here.) The tour continues southward until the end of the week before heading across the pond for a month-long campaign of European shows.
(Click to enlarge photos)