Live: Kylesa Headbang Semi-Secretively At Public Assembly
Better than: Watching Tony Romo get knocked out for the season on Monday Night Football, which is saying something.
You know you're in for some shit when you walk in the club and there are three full drum kits onstage. The first belongs to Brooklyn's own Hull, a five-man Sabbathian monolith of slow-headbanging fury, occasionally breaking into a jump-cut double-time gallop but more comfortable when gradually roiling to a deliberate, rumbling, drum-fill-heavy, hypnotizing boil, each tune moody and violent and miniseries-length, with loud parts so loud you can't think straight and quiet parts so quiet you can hear the drummer loudly exhaling. Between songs they earnestly thank us for Supporting the Scene and sheepishly admit that one of their guitarists (Carmine, I think) was headbanging so hard he threw his back out. Consider that an omen.
On, then, to the other two drum kits, to be bashed simultaneously by the fearsome rhythm section powering Georgia "psych-metal wrecking crew" Kylesa, whose fifth album, Spiral Shadow, is drawing inexplicable (and favorable!) comparisons to both Arcade Fire and Built to Spill, with just a touch more pop bombast at its center, though the howling vocals of both Laura Pleasant and Phillip Cope are generally subsumed by the concussive mayhem. They opened for
Mastadon High on Fire at Webster Hall over the weekend, but this wasn't enough to satisfy anyone, so this semi-secret headlining show was contrived by Brooklyn Vegan and friends to compensate.
Bands who attempt the two-drummer thing (Kylesa occasionally get four going, actually, via a couple auxiliary floor toms, which gets into some quasi-tribal Boredoms shit) risk sounding excessive and ridiculous, but "excessive" and "ridiculous" are actually warmly welcome concepts tonight, with Pleasant leading the charge as her guitar-playing vacillates from sludge-factory riffs to spider-fingered tapping to simple, elegant, string-bending solo moans. The poppier stuff is mostly shelved tonight, with one notable, awe-inspiring exception: "Don't Look Back" is a killer, Cope snarling ""Keep moving/Don't look back" repeatedly over an anthemic four-chord riff and throwing out a few more headbanging backs as the sleepy Monday-night crowd briefly flirts with full-blown mosh-pit eruption. No set list, no long-winded banter, no flamboyant theatricality: just an hour or so of Monday-night bombast that oughta power you through the rest of the week nicely. Totally worth an extra visit to the chiropractor.
Critical Bias: Was hoping for more mosh-pit antics, actually, but maybe everyone's still exhausted from CMJ.
Overheard: "The rent is too damn high."
Random Notebook Dump: Whoever draws all the art for Kylesa's CD covers/posters/drum heads deserves a raise.