Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let's get crazy

I got the chance to hit two different shows last night, and both were excellent - in fact the second easily ranks among the best I've seen in the last 365 days. My first stop of the evening was 373 Bronson Ave., where Scottie of Alaskan (and some other folks) live. It's been the site of several house shows but this is the last as the residents move on. It's basement has a low ceiling and a few inconvenient pipes and wires, but can accommodate a good sized drum kit, band and three-dozen or so audience members. As for the music, Justin Gobeil of Loviatar started things off by suggesting everyone go to the bathroom, get some toilet paper and fashion themselves some earplugs - good advice which not too many people seemed to heed.

Loviatar is made up of Justin (of Army of St. Joan and Sleeping Pilot, among others), Mike Bond (of Late 94s and Sleeping Pilot) and J.P. Sadek (of Tokyo Sex Whale and The Dead City Rebels). They played two songs of sludge-doom with Justin kicking in some heavily reverbed vocals.

Loviatar at 373 Bronson Ave.
Loviatar at 373 Bronson Ave, January 16, 2010

Next up, Mountanaka played an extra crunchy set of howling vocals and heavyweight sounds. Unfortunately Chuck Sasia's microphone was not in top form so there was a certain something missing.

Mountanaka at 373 Bronson Ave.
Mountanaka at 373 Bronson Ave, January 16, 2010

Alaskan rocked it with a combination of hardcore punk and doom rock. They're the kind of band that makes me think that Sleep and High on Fire precursor Asbestosdeath was a lot more influential than anyone realized. Here's Scottie, also of Biipiigwan, on the drums. I spent most of the show cowering beside Scottie's kit, which actually turned out to be quite a good spot.

Alaskan at 373 Bronson Ave.
Alaskan at 373 Bronson Ave, January 16, 2010

And here's a couple of more band members and an extremely rambunctious crowd. Singer Kevin is the one with a fan's legs wrapped around his neck.

Alaskan at 373 Bronson Ave.
Alaskan at 373 Bronson Ave, January 16, 2010

After that it was off to Babylon, where I conveniently arrived just before The Holy Cobras launched into a super set. They've gone from The Gun Club to The Germs and now seem to be headed into outerspace with a sound that borrows something from Spacemen 3 and Loop. As usual frontman Danny Druff dressed up for the occasion. "The world needs dresses!" he said. Ryan from the late, lamented Fucked Corpse is now on bass, while Kristal has moved to drums, as per everyone's recommendation following the band's Gaga Weekend set.

Holy Cobras at Babylon
Holy Cobras at Babylon, January 16, 2010

Between bands Eric Espig of Daydream Square and The Solid Senders spun the hits of the future.

Eric Espig at Babylon
Eric Espig at Babylon, January 16, 2010

Minneapolis, Minn. trio The Blind Shake held down the middle slot. I think just about everyone in the crowd was staggered by their headlong rush of hard fast rhythms, harmony vocals and crazed stage presence. If you want kicks, these guys have got them in spades. They're like The Strangeloves of I Want Candy fame given a huge post-punk boost. A super-sounding albeit short set.

The Blind Shake at Babylon
The Blind Shake at Babylon, January 16, 2010

I was wondering how The Grand Trine were going to top The Blind Shakes' aural dynamite, and it turns out by going completely bonkers. They started with a cover of The Sonics' Strychnine and finished with The Wipers' Over The Edge. In between there was a lot of crowd surfing (on one occasion, bassist Tobias landed on Apartment 613 man Jonathan Migneault, who was in the front row). Guitarist Shub Roy was in Fucked Corpse, Akisakila, Smoke Judo, etc.

Grand Trine at Babylon
Grand Trine at Babylon, January 16, 2010

Tobias finished the night by taking off his shirt and channelling his inner Iggy.

Grand Trine at Babylon
Grand Trine at Babylon, January 16, 2010

There was also much drumkit carnage, feedback, garage rock noise abuse and drunken girl moshing. In other words, a great show!

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