Friday, June 24, 2011

Montreal Mirror: "Show Of The Year"

Very kind words from the Montreal Mirror here.


Show of the year?
June 23, 2011
After transporting my tired carcass down the 401 from this year’s NXNE festival in Toronto, where I caught a great set from Ty Segal and a stupendous set from legendary shoegazers Swervedriver, I was dead set on making it to the Casa on Saturday, June 18 to catch the mind-altering dark ambience and blackened metal of Locrian, my most anticipated show this year. Armed with my great expectations, this New York three-piece proved themselves to be a marrow-shaking live band that easily held everyone in Casa’s tiny confines spellbound.

Hidden behind thick sheets of fog, with a dozen candles lighting their way, this trio opened the night by weaving an amazing drone with rapidly picked black metal guitar layered underneath the analog synths and treated, screeched/chanted vocals. The guitar arpeggio of the title track from the band’s stupendous The Crystal World record was sublime, and quickly gave way to a cacophony of counter-melodies that nestled nicely between the frontal lobes. When they hit the refrain of “Triumph of Elimination,” screaming white light stormed the room and stunned the senses as the band hyp­notized with tribal beats and searing frequencies that were just simply unbeatable. By the time they launched into their epic “Elevations and Depths,” most of us were actually pinching ourselves. If you missed this night of pitch-black psych, you have to check out Locrian’s amazing The Crystal World and thank me later.

Still reeling from the Locrian show, I also made it down to catch supergroup punk band OFF! at Foufounes the following night. If Locrian released the best record last year, OFF!’s box set of seven-inches, The First Four EPs, placed right behind it. OFF! just leaned back and sheared the packed room’s head off with a 30-minute set that made most so-called “old-school hardcore” bands utterly laughable. The band’s pedigree is without question, with singer Keith Morris remaining one of the most perfect punk rock frontmen of all time, albeit only once he was actually singing. If there was a sticking point here, it would have to be Morris’s between-song banter, which actually lasted far longer then their minute-long blasts. His putting the American government in the crosshairs of the 9/11 smoke screen/fear-mongering, as well as the succinct observation that most people are shit, was almost verbatim from his show two nights before at NXNE, which kind of painted him as a tired crank. Nit-picking aside, this was real-deal punk rock full of vitriol and intensity and was indeed a breath of fresh air compared with the rash of current hardcore bands romanticizing the 80s while fumbling through the blueprint. Best punk rock band of the past decade? Yep!

On Saturday, June 25, you can catch the punk fucking rock of Bludgeoned with JJ Allin, the Sluts 45 and New World Distortion at Katacombes, while Sunday hosts TV Ghost, the O Voids and Ultrathin at Il Motore. Finally, on Tuesday at Casa is Nobunny, Dead Wife and Hand Cream, featuring members of Drunk Dial and the Pink Noise. ■