It’s my second night in a row at The Independent. It would be wildly different than the night before.
It still took me only 15 minutes to park (yay!) and I was surprised that my guestlist spot came with a VIP wristband…but was very glad it did because I was one of the only girls there, and was able to escape the testosterone. Where are all the metal chicks in this town?
Eagle Twin took the stage shortly after my arrival- which surprised me as they weren’t listed on the bill. They are two burly guys from Salt Lake City; one sports a bass and the other on drums. It’s ultra-heavy right out the gate. The drummer is intensely punishing- shrapnel from his drumsticks are falling into the crowd. I’ll put it this way- I started in the middle of the floor, and after every song I took a step forward. Eagle Twin-> HRC metal magnet. I loved it. The drummer has some awesome tats and nipple piercings, too. Towards the end, the bass was switched out for a clear guitar. They definitely are influenced by Sunn O))); droning songs that run into each other, but the drums add something to let the listener glom onto…maybe a good entry band into drone metal. At the end, the drummer stood up and full on punched his drums a couple times until they fell over.
The Accused were an interesting choice to go into the middle of this lineup. They are a punk/metal band from Seattle, formed in 1981. After a long hiatus in the ’90s, they have ‘reformed’ to both play shows and record new material….though the only original member is guitarist Tommy Niemeyer. Their bleeding logo adorned the back of the stage. The band comes out, and my first thought is- grunge lives! These guys are definitely rough around the edges. Two of the members sport dreadlocks, and the guitarist and the bassist have great sleeves-torn-off Kreator and Bathory shirts…want!
It is unfortunate that this set was marred by audience reaction. Being that I was upstairs now, I could see that there were maybe a handful of guys up front who were there to see this band, and everyone else was already in the drone trance state awaiting Sunn O))). Regardless, they put on a fine show- I particularly liked the bassist, who was more metal than punk in his style. The singer was put out of breath by his vocals at times, escaping to the side of the stage for brief moments to lean against a speaker and catch his breath. And then at one point he held up what I thought was a shot, and the next thing I knew he breathed some fire into the crowd. WTH? Good thing there weren’t any girls up there with flammable hair product! They took several opportunities to hock their merch, and one point singing, “we take visa, mastercard, american express, and PAYPAL! (insert metal scream here)”. At the end, they said they were leaving soon to go to a seance, so go buy there stuff now. Ha.
A large part of the setup for Sunn O))) involved filling the room with fog. It became almost suffocating. When the cloaked duo hit the stage, they were barely bathed in green light when they hit their first note. The drone filled up the room, waves of sound penetrating every corner. I may have likened shows to attending mass before- but this one truly was like a satanic mass. Everyone was in a trance, barely moving, as the duo slowly hit their notes and moved their instruments around in the air. It felt like everything was in slow motion. The sound, though not overwhelming loud since I was at the back of the room, was so intense that it made me space out into evil thoughts in my brain. You just can’t help it- it’s the music’s intention. When the vocalist joined them a song or two in, he was at first shrouded in a cloak, but moved on to this extremely freaky Guillermo del Toro-esque scarecrow costume. He would go from growls to shrieks that just really sent the scary vibe of the music over the edge. I was briefly reminded of the Holocaust portion of the MBV show I saw last year, which made me physically ill, but this was much more sinister.
I watched the crowd- there was a bit of attrition of folks who may not have known what they were getting themselves into. Most were wrapped up in a spiritual experience it seemed. I enjoyed the ride, but it definitely put me in a weird headspace. Towards the end of the show, a guy came up to me and goes, “this is the loudest concert I’ve ever been to”. I wouldn’t say that, but the slow speed does things that make your brain freak out a little. In fact, it has to be almost as technically difficult to play at that slow speed as at a high speed.
It was definitely one of the more unique sets I’ve ever experienced, and I got an awesome poster to remember it by.
The crazy fucking place they are playing tonight– new item on the to do list is to see a show here….