Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trap Them and Wolves in the Throne Room

Two long days of getting punched in the face by Metal!

First on Monday I went to Lit to check out Trap Them. I have been into their newest album Seizures in Barren Praise and my first experience seeing them at the Gramercy opening for Napalm Death was rather lukewarm. I can see the band had potential to be a great live act, but as the first band on a long bill they didn't really hit their potential. But in the small sweaty confines of Lit the band was able to really let loose and the overwhelming volume was crushing and all consuming. Opening with the crushing yet catchy "Fucking Viva" they blasted through a nice short set. The band had great stage presence, but I was left wishing the singer didn't lean so hard on the "hardcore" style of interacting with the audience. You know what I'm talking about, the constant doubled over singing towards the floor fetal position thing. Also he kept running into the audience and shouting out towards the back row. It is briefly a cool effect but I prefer when a band stays unified. Having the singer so far from the band makes it difficult to decide what to focus on, and reduces the impact of both the players and the singer. Maybe in another post I will divulge my theories on why Hardcore singers and Metal singers have such radically different stage presences.

After Trap Them headliners Victims from Sweden ran through a set which sounded like the more Hardcore side of Entombed. It was great but I bolted after a few songs because I was pretty tired, drunk, and knew I had a long week ahead of me. I definitely need to give them more of a chance because I really liked what I heard.

Fun celebrity sighting: Barney from Napalm Death who looked like any other regular dude at the show. In fact with his short hair and boyish face he looked a bit less Metal which was awesome. Also awesome was that he would go out of his way to watch his ex-touring mates at a very small venue. I already knew I loved that band and this solidified that.

Then last night was the Wolves in the Throne Room show at the Studio@Webster Hall, that new small venue they put in the basement. It was where that awesome Dillinger Escape Plan show was a few months ago.

I will briefly discuss the three bands who played.

A Storm of Light
- this was my second time seeing them as an opener, the first was the Neurosis/Mastodon show at the Masonic Hall. I am very conflicted about the band. They have a great sound, a great vibe and amazing sound design/effects which work well in their favor. But unfortunately I don't think their sound varies enough and it can get a bit tedious by the end of a 40 minute set. I wonder if I need to see them in a situation where they aren't the first and least aggressive band on a bill.

Krallice - Oh Krallice, I don't know what to say about you. You bill yourselves as Black Metal, but you sound a lot more like the super group of local NYC avant-prog guys you are. They are all such good players and briefly it was very interesting. But after a while there was just too much music and it became white noise. The drummer is awesome but never played a beat or slowed down. The guitarists were all over the place. Everything sounded great but without space or stronger songs it became all too easy to tune them out. However I need to give a shout out to the bassist. He was playing some fantastic riffs on the six string bass. In a different band he could be a real stand out. I don't want to count this band out, but they really need stronger songs. Often they invoked the worst of classic lineup Don Caballero combined with the occasional Black Metal shriek.

Wolves in the Throne Room - with a very simple stage filled with fog and dripping candles they lived up to their hype. They are an amazing live band. Plowing through incredibly long songs with conviction and grace, they sold some challenging music to a shockingly tame audience. The addition of a touring bassist helped round out the sound very well. My biggest complaint about some of their earliest work is the lack of a bassist made everything sound a bit thin. There was no danger of that last night. Good mix of material in the set from their whole catalog, which is quite a feat since most of their songs clock in around 15 minutes. They played a little under an hour and hurried off the stage in a way that implied there may have been some problems behind the scenes. But even if that was the case they rocked us intensely and professionally and made sure I got my $12 worth.

1 comment:

Elise said...

HAHAH you love those avant-prog nerds. Admit it!