Sunday, November 8, 2009

Russian Circles, Red Sparowes,
Young Widows, Coliseum, live!

Four bands I've never really heard before! But they have good reputations, and it was Friday night and just down the road at Rudyard's.

I only caught the last song from Coliseum - gotta pace myself. They clearly know how to rock, in a heavy speed-metal way. Kind of an odd fit for the rest of the evening, but they had the already-significant crowd behind them all the way.

Young Widows
Second up was Young Widows, stars of Old Wounds (2008) and numerous split 7"s. They play a very '90s noise-rock, mixing the standout components of the Jesus Lizard (free-ranging spidery guitar, claustrophobically discomforting lead vocals) and Steel Pole Bath Tub (live delay loops, pummelling repetitive rhythm work, unison-shouted choruses). They had awesome giant speaker cabs with concealed backlighting, and put on a good heavy-duty underground rock show.

Red Sparowes
And then there was the Red Sparowes, somewhat of a post-metal super-group, playing epic but quieter instrumentals. They had a large video show projected on the two walls behind them, which was pretty cool despite not having screens or anything. I'm not familiar with their music, but it all sounded very good to me. I also did enjoy the occasional use of steel guitar, which I'd heard about but wasn't sure I'd dig. Of course, I'm a minor fan of the genre, so that helps.

Russian Circles
And finally, the Russian Circles were headlining. What I think when I think of post-rock: a guitar band playing extended instrumentals with song dynamics ebbing and overflowing. I wasn't expecting the most from them for whatever reason, but they were my favorite of the night. They balanced the hypnotic, almost Kraut, parts with the heavier blow-outs. And the blow-outs were more explosive and more frequent than I'd have thought. Remember, we're talking '00s post-rock explosive here, not '90s noise-rock explosive.

So. A good show, glad I went. Don't think I found any new favorite bands or anything... but I did hear some good music and some great playing. Which is always a plus in this crazy world!

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