Archive for the ‘Underground Arts’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 13, 2022] Alex Nicol [rescheduled from May 7, 2020]

I was pretty excited when The House of Love announced a 30th anniversary tour of the States in 2020.  It would be their first time playing here in 30 years.  Then COVID, obviously.

Opening for them was Alex Nicol.  Impressively, when these dates were rescheduled, Alex Nicol was still the opening guy.  The show was originally set for White Eagle Hall in NJ.  Rescheduled shows were moved around (no more NJ) but I would happily go to Underground Arts to see them.

A few weeks from now Travis is playing Union Transfer.  Opening for them is Ben Ottewell (of Gomez).  Every poster listed him as “Of Gomez.”  For some reason I got my anniversary tours mixed up and thought that “Of Gomez” was for this show.  So I went into Nicol’s set expecting him to sound like Gomez.  He doesn’t.

Alex Nicol is a musician from Montreal.  His bandmates all had wonderfully French sounding names Simon Trottier (guitar), Emmanuel Ethier (bass), and Bucky Wheaton (drums) [aside from Bucky, obviously]. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Behemoth

Behemoth is a Polish extreme metal band.  I’ve never been to an extreme metal show before and figure it would be fun (I guess) to see one.

Behemoth have been around for over twenty years and have stirred up their share of controversy.  As NME wrote: Singer Nergal was prosecuted for blasphemy a decade ago for ripping up a bible on stage, but he argued his right to free speech and won the case, having to neither draw pentagrams in salt nor shed the blood of any lambs in the process.

NME also notes: When he is not onstage, he hosted the Polish version of Pop Idol, he runs a chain of barbershops and is a qualified museum curator.

I had heard that Behemoth live shows were legendary.  So I waited to see what would come next.

There were three sculpted microphone stands on the stage and a giant drum set in the back.  There was a sculpture behind the drum riser and lots of pyro.

Then the band came out in corpse paint looking ominous and intense.

The music started.  It was relentless and powerful and the crowd went berserk.  There were clearly long-time fans who knew the words to all the songs.  There was a massive pit in the center of the room.  But mostly there was the band.

Lead singer and guitarist Nergal was in the middle, conducting the whole thing.  Behind him was long time drummer Inferno.

We were in front of bassist Orion and on the other side was a behemoth of a guitarist Seth.

At some point Nergal changed outfits and was wearing a Pope hat.  Orion spit blood in the air and at the audience.  Seth stomped all around the stage and Inferno blasted the hell out of his drums.

It was intense and exhausting (especially after three other bands).  I was pretty wiped out by the end of the show and decided that I probably didn’t need to see any more extreme metal bands.

Behemoth had destroyed them all.

  1. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer §
  2. Wolves ov Siberia
  3. Ov Fire and the Void
  4. Evoe Δ
  5. Christians to the Lions ¢
  6. Bartzabel
  7. Conquer All δ
  8. Ov My Herculean Exile Ø
  9. Decade of Therion ¥
  10. Slaves Shall Serve δ
  11. Chant for Eschaton 2000 ¥
  12. O Father O Satan O Sun! §

Ø Opvs Contra Natvram (2022)
Δ A Forest EP (2020)
♥ I Loved You at Your Darkest (2018)
§ The Satanist (2014)
€ Evangelion (2009)
δ Demigod (2004)
¢ Thelema.6 (2000)
¥ Satanica (1999)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Arch Enemy

I wasn’t really familiar with Arch Enemy.  I knew of them, but I wasn’t aware that they have had two female singers who can growl with the best of them.

The band is based in Sweden, but Angela Gossow–a legend among fans–was a German screamer who sang with the band for 14 years.  When she retired, Gossow recommended Alissa White-Gluz from Canadian metal band The Agonist as her replacement, and remained business manager for the band.

So I got to see White-Gluz in all fo her blue-haired glory.

She held the entire audience rapt.  Between her soaring voice and her guttural growls, it was hard to take your eyes off of her.  Which I suppose the band is used to, but it is their band too, you know?

The music was heavy.  Solid, old school metal with some modern flourishes.

Alissa was lead singer on two albums, but they played music from throughout their catalog.

The most notable thing for me, though, was that a Dad had brought his little girl (I think she was six), and she got up to the front (with big noise cancelling headphones on) and Alissa saw her and waved and later on gave her a setlist.  Sweet.

It’s possible that Arch Enemy is the more popular of the two band (I believe they alternated headline acts), but it would be hard to follow Behemoth’s stage show, even with a highly polished and rocking show like Arch Enemy’s.

  1. Set Flame to the Night [taped entrance]
  2. Deceiver, Deceiver
  3. The World Is Yours
  4. Ravenous §
  5. War Eternal ψ
  6. My Apocalypse
  7. House of Mirrors
  8. The Eagle Flies Alone
  9. Under Black Flags We March £
  10. Dead Bury Their Dead §
  11. Nemesis
  12. Fields of Desolation
  13. Enter the Machine [taped exit]

⊗ Deceivers (2022)
¶ Will to Power (2017)
ψ War Eternal (2014)

£ Khaos Legions (2011)
™ Doomsday Machine (2005)
§ Wages of Sin (2001)
€ Black Earth (1996)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Napalm Death

Napalm Death are legends.  They have been around since 1981 although formed a solid lineup in 1987.  Although their Wikipedia page lists 18 former members, the lineup I saw was almost has been with the band since at least 1991.

Current members Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals (1987–present) Mitch Harris – guitars, backing vocals (1990–present) Danny Herrera – drums (1991–present) Mark “Barney” Greenway – lead vocals (1989–1996, 1997–present).

That’s pretty impressive for a grindcore band whose first album contained songs that were almost all under two minutes long. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Unto Others

Despite having tickets to see Girl Talk, I decided I’d go see this North American Siege of 2022.  I’ve been intrigued by Behemoth for quite a while.  The are an extreme metal band from Poland who sing of the occult and thelemic ideas.  But they are known mainly for their intense live show.

I haven’t really ever been to a show like this and it seemed worth a visit.

I arrived absurdly early.  I think doors opened at 6 and I arrived at 6:15 or something.  And there was hardly anyone there.  The guy at the bar said it sold poorly. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Altin Gün / Sessa

Altin Gün sounds like the kind of band I would love–a Turkish psychedelic band from The Netherlands.  Their name means Golden Day).

Their live shows are supposed to be wonderful as well:

Altin Gün’s relentless grooves are truly immersive, anti-elitist, inclusive. It’s truly music for the dancefloor – all dancefloors. Altin Gün are the perfect 21st Century psych band, hinting at a deep record collection while still belonging to a living tradition and having a unique and distinctive voice
[from Forestpunk].

But when I listened to them I just couldn’t quite get into it.  Possibly because I knew I was so overbooked that night I didn’t want to have yet another band I was dying to see.

Sessa is a Portuguese musician whose record label says “a songwriter …. blessed with a flair for the intimate, the enigmatic, and the licentious. Sessa’s songs are sung in Portuguese, with visceral, sensual lyrics, and melodic flourishes.”  He seems more mellow than Altin Gün but I could see people on the dancefloor for both.

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[ATTENDED: April 22, 2022] Fontaines D.C.

I saw Fontaines D.C. in September of 2019 just as they were getting a buzz about them.  The show was sold out and crowded.  And, it turns out people knew them very very well.  And they wanted to dance.

Johnny Brenda’s does really lend itself to that and when one guy took exception, he started to get really rough.  It was not a great experience.  So I wanted to see them again, to cleanse my palette.

Fontaines have to be the most disaffected band that ever existed.  Not an expression on any of them.  They seem like they are disgusted with everyone there.  And lead singer Grian Chatten feels simultaneously like he is not there and is the only thing there.

He often seems like he’s in his own world and then he seems to focus on the audience and consumes everyone.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 22, 2022] Just Mustard

Just Mustard are a five piece band from Dundalk, Ireland.  They make a fantastic noisy mess of shoegaze combined with a wall of noise and singer Katie’s droney but at times piercing vocals.

The blew away Underground Arts when they opened for Fontaines D.C.

They have a new album coming out soon and they played a bunch of songs from it.  Lead singer Katie Ball was wearing a cheerleader-type outfit with her name in letters across he front.  This was about the only whimsical thing in their entire set.

The band exuded seriousness and they were exceptional musicians.  Drummer Shane Maguire played some amazing and unexpected fills and when he hit the snare hard (which wasn’t always) it cracked to attention.  I was in front of guitarist David Noonan who played a lot of rhythmic sounds (not so much rhythm guitar as rhythmic sounds–his playing was very percussive.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: November 14, 2021] We Were Promised Jetpacks (postponed from November 14, 2021).

I’ve seen We Were Promised Jetpacks a couple of times and they put on a ripping show.

But recently one of their original members left and they seem to have changed their sound a bit.  I didn’t enjoy it quite as much.  But I still had a ticket to this show and figured they’d still be great live.

But when Gustaf announced a show the same night, I knew I’d be going to that one instead.  I saw Gusaf open for Idles and imagined that their headline show would be amazing.  So I chose Gustaf.

Frankie Rose is evidently a legendary musician who has played with everyone like Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls.  She sounds like she’d put on a good show.  Although her poppier sound suggests that WWPJ were leaning a bit more pop on this album.



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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 11, 2022] Fuzz / Electric Candlelight

This week was supposed to be an intense week of concerts for me.  I don’t really like when they all line up in one week. but what can you do?

Then we decided to go on vacation (it was Spring Break), so I blew off all of these shows.

This second show was with Fuzz.  Fuzz is one of Ty Segall’s bands.  He plays drums in this one and, as their name suggests, they play fuzzy psychedelic music.  I thought  this would be a fun show even though I didn’t know the band all that well.

Besides, I had tickets to Ty Segall later in the summer as well.

Electric Candlelight is a Philly-based band who sound right up my alley.  Here’s a brief write up:

Electric Candlelight — the newly minted four-piece is led by singer Owen Stewart from Ruby The Hatchet and guitarist Justin Pittney, formerly of Residuels and Moon Women. The heavy psychedelic band is rounded out by Max Jonas from Tough Shits on bass, Joshua Aaron from The Lawsuits band on drums, and Ali Awan on guitar. The group made its debut this week with a single called “Another Year Gone By,” a six-minute-long thrasher with ample guitar melodies and the drive of Stewart’s raspy, Credence-esque vocals that offer an element of Ruby The Hatchet’s psychedelic hard rock.

Sounds like it would have been a trippy, fun show.

But D.C. was a wonderful trip, so no regrets.

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