Sunday, August 28, 2011
LIVE REVIEW: Metz, Anatomy of Habit and Iceage at the Empty Bottle; August 6, 2011
So, as after parties go, choosing this concert as an official Lollapalooza after party was definitely a poor decision. To have a bunch of people who normally aren't concert goers go from seeing Lady GaGa, Noah and the Whale, and the Foo Fighters to a noisy hardcore and doom show could only spell for disaster and, at times, it did. No, I don't mean to criticize the Empty Bottle, who put on some of the best shows of all genres in Chicago, for making this decision, as the show happened to be scheduled the same weekend as Lollapalooza and was a means of getting people to attend and make them money (shut up, they're a business and need to survive), but I can't help but feel like this show was a little...tainted by what was mostly an uninterested, already drunk crowd. Yes, some of these bands have qualities that could very well appeal to most of the crowd that came straight from Lollapalooza, but at the same time Iceage did play an apartment show the night before. Show promotion is a peculiar beast. I definitely enjoyed the show, though.
Live videos and set reviews after the jump.
For some odd reason I hadn't shuffled through Canadian noise rock trio Metz's discography before this show, but I immediately went to their Bandcamp upon returning home to download their (free) music. Following in the footsteps of Sonic Youth's "no wave" days in which they frequently shared the stage with Lydia Lunch, Metz's abrasive, aggressive noise rock was definitely an experience. Their reckless disregard for volume and tone breaks the mold set by most modern noise rock bands who would never think of going beyond a "4" or a "5" on their amplifier's volume knob for fear of damaging their precious, boutique speakers. Destructive, fun, and featuring a bass player who has the uncanny looks of a younger Bruce Campbell (think Evil Dead, not Burn Notice), and you have a newer noise rock band that I actually like. Neat.
ANATOMY OF HABIT
After four years of hearing about their spectacular live shows I finally got to see Anatomy of Habit. A supergroup of the Chicago underground, featuring members of Plague Bringer, Cheer Accident, Vertoren, No Funeral and the infamous Bloodyminded, Anatomy of Habit "sped things up" a bit via crushing the audience with a distinct mix of death rock, noise, mid-80s industrial and all-encompassing doom metal. Utilizing bizarre, deep tonalities, found-object percussion, odd rhythm metrics and menacing vocals from one Mark Solotroff, Chicago's busiest experimental artist, Anatomy of Habit acts as the middle ground between early Swans, Joy Division, and Einsturzende Neubauten. Solely playing two songs ("Radiate and Receive" (in the video) and "Torch"), Anatomy of Habit's presence was undeniable and set apart from the rest of this lineup. Expect their debut album later next month.
ICEAGE (or is it Ice Age? It always varies)
Ever since I saw the crude video these young Danes made for their song "New Brigade" back in October or November, I knew I had to see Iceage live. Bringing punk back to the days where it was a bunch of snotty kids (frontman Elias brandishes X's on his hands for being underage in a bar), Iceage's apathetic, noisy approach to hardcore punk is a harsh reminder as to what punk has become - controlled by bigger record labels, completely lacking any of the anger or feeling that earlier bands held. Everything was exactly as I had hoped, out-of-tune guitars, various band members falling in and out of time, and, of course, Elias's aggressive but careless vocal style; this is punk rock. Having been caught up in the energy of the moment, I stopped filming and ended up in what ended up being a rather pitiful mosh pit. The venue might have been packed to the brim, but everyone seemed far too interested in getting smashed than enjoying the music they paid to see. The biggest bummer was some ass wearing a red shirt and a braided, thin mustache (ugh), who found the need to clear the area in front of the stage and grab at Elias or his microphone. At one point, during the epic singalong chorus of the closer "You're Blessed," Elias ended up punching said jerk in the chest, culminating in a "fuck you" before he leaped from the stage and left. People suck, but Iceage's set was definitely something to be hold and should be thought of as a paradigm of sorts for punk bands to come. Stop caring so much and start playing.