Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ophibre; Nature; Hunted Creatures; Peace, Loving at Church



Hunted Creatures

Peace, Loving

More photos on my Flickr.

I'm pretty sure it's mostly futile writing this review. Last night was the first night of the monthly, I dunno what you wanna call it, residency? of JP's Whitehaus at Church. The first Tuesday of every month, The Whitehaus will be presenting a show with various Whitehaus and non-Whitehaus related bands at Church for free. But seeing how this was the first night of that, and it was also the opening day for the Red Sox, there were almost zero people at the show. Literally, I was one of about 5 people there that wasn't in a band or "with the band." So this review? Probably only relevant to a dozen or so people. In the world.

This was another show with some serious lineup shifting, going almost in reverse. Peace, Loving was up first and they were almost nothing like when I saw them about a year ago. I remember them being very minimal, lots of scattered noise, earthy, and haunting. There was a little bit of that last night, with their wooden frame with tons of metal scraps and tape recorders playing various found sounds and radio broadcasts. But there was actually a lot of free jazz, too. I mean, most of the time, they all played actual instruments. A few drums, guitar, bass, saxophone, it was just how they played that made them less of a "jazz band" and more of a "free spirited, do whatever the fuck we want noise band." I gotta give the banjo player major awesome points, too. He played the banjo right next to a regular microphone (banjos aren't the loudest instruments, after all) and when things started getting a little crazy, he would scrape the mic against the banjo strings. It's such a simple thing but I was just so impressed by that. It sounded amazing and I fuckin loved it. Good job, banjo player.

Hunted Creatures was up next. I was really excited to see him because he put out that exquisite split tape with Ophibre and I knew his live stuff was just going to be spectacular. And of course, it was. Similar to the piece on the split tape, there was a low rumble that resonated throughout the room, creating the foundation of the song. Unlike the tape, however, there was a lot of easily recognizable beauty with something that sounded like a bagpipe (bagpipe imposter?) and the second half of the song was filled with swaths of (appropriately Church related) organs. So wonderful. It wasn't just all drone, though, as he added a bunch of pre-recorded percussion that sounded a lot like the clattering of bricks and wooden 2x4s being rolled around and dropped in a huge warehouse. Similar to the industrial sounds from the split tape, but not nearly as scary.

Nature was a band I knew absolutely nothing about prior to the show except that they were on tour with Hunted Creatures. There were two of them, one sitting behind a drum kit, the other hunched over some electronics with his back to the audience. There was a lot of quiet layered static coming from who knows what in the beginning. Eventually, the non-drummer picked up a guitar and then they started playing some awesome post-metal-noise-rock stuff. The guitar was completely washed out with distortion and delay and the drummer was just going nuts. These guys fucking destroyed. Totally was not expecting anything resembling "rock" at a show like this. The drummer picked up a set of big headphones and used them as a microphone, sounding similar to the vocals from Lightning Bolt or the songs where the drummer sings in Neptune. Fucking amazing. They finished off with weird minimal processed percussion and guitar feedback static drone that ultimately faded away into nothing.

Shit, man. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Ophibre's drone is of the highest quality. Last night's set was spacey and slightly New Agey (fuck you it can be done right) in an Emeralds sort of way. I don't know if you used to watch Battlestar at all (and if you didn't, wtf start right now) but the bedrock of Ophibre's piece was like the sound the Cylon Raiders made when they were scanning something with their red eyes going back and forth. Ophibre used it in a way that I would almost call a beat if it was regular or consistent enough, which it wasn't. But what he carefully laid down on top of that was just so perfect and special. I completely lost all concept of time and physical reality. I literally caught myself from falling over a couple of times because I just stopped paying attention to my body. I think I was traveling through space, 30,000 light years away to a sun drenched ice planet and I was exploring one of it's sparkling caverns. When Ophibre's set ended, I couldn't tell if he'd been playing for 15 minutes or an hour. I guess it doesn't really matter though. It was fucking unbelievable. That's what matters.

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