Posts Tagged ‘Salome’

Two shows to start the year

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I closed 2009 with a whimper rather than a bang, not going to a single show in the last six weeks of the year. So it was nice to get back into it with a pair of shows here in DC early in 2010. Last Friday, I saw Massachusetts-based post-rockers Caspian at an amazingly packed The Red & the Black; last night, I saw a great metal double-bill of Jucifer and Salome at the Black Cat backstage.

The glib way to describe Caspian is “Explosions in the Sky but heavier and not as good.” They play a melodic, accessible, largely predictable brand of instrumental post-rock that does the soft-loud-soft thing religiously. One of the things that sets them apart is that their loud parts are really loud - and not just really loud, but quite heavy as well, with some good ol’ chunky riffage that appeals to the metal fan in me. Their live show had some pretty great, cathartic moments, but it didn’t take long before it kind of all started sounding the same, which I suppose is the major pitfall for most post-rock bands. Even the really great ones don’t always manage to avoid it (see: Mogwai, etc etc). Still, a fun show, and the last song ended with a huge percussion breakdown that was pretty cool.

One thing of note: Caspian’s drummer used a bare-bones kit of snare drum, bass drum, hi-hat and two cymbals. No toms to be found. To be honest, I missed the toms a bit. The band’s music doesn’t really demand much from their drummer, but a bit more variety in his sound might have helped keep the show from getting samey as quickly as it did.

As for last night, Jucifer and Salome were a real treat. I’ve seen both these bands multiple times at this point and really enjoy both of their live shows. They’re a perfect bill together: Jucifer completely eschews their poppy album material in favor of a pure wall of sound, while Salome plays (to steal words from a coworker and fellow metalhead) “doom with fifteen Os” - monstrously slow, sludgy, riff-centric metal, with a seriously ferocious vocalist. Neither disappointed at this show; although I think I enjoyed Jucifer’s last show in the area (at Baltimore’s Ottobar) a bit more than this one, I couldn’t really pinpoint why. Maybe because at the Ottobar show, I was able to pick out a few familiar riffs here and there and could actually tell what album material they were playing, albeit transformed into near unrecognizability - this time around, it was all completely unrecognizable to me.

Turnout at this show was great too. I’d guess 30-40 for both bands, which is great considering the last two times I saw Jucifer there were probably 20 people combined. The fact that folks came early to see Salome was awesome. People seemed into it, too, although with DC crowds it’s sometimes hard to tell. To be fair, this isn’t exactly mosh-pit music. Although it’d be fun to see a Salome mosh-pit. Slowest wall of death ever!

Anyway, I also just had a nice experience at this show talking with folks, which is something I often don’t get to do at metal shows. Enjoyed shooting the shit about why I don’t like current-day Mastodon, getting all prog-nerdy about the likes of Opeth, Symphony X, “Starless” and more, hearing Salome tour stories, etc etc, with various friends and band members. Definitely a great way to start a year in concerts.

Photos from the Jucifer/Salome show coming to a Washington City Paper Arts Desk post soon.

Belated update

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Where have I been?

Well, I spent about two weeks in China for the Olympics - one hell of a family trip. I don’t really have much to say about that trip that relates to this website whatsoever, except for one small anecdote. One of the places we explored was the 798 Art District, a rather stunning space on the outskirts of Beijing with numerous spaces for avant-garde and modern art — much of which was excellent and some of which was surprisingly political. At my favorite gallery, there was a particularly impressive sculpture made of a wrecked car painted entirely black, with tiny models of cars (think Micro Machines) swarming all over it, bulging out around cracks in the wreck, looking like nothing more than maggots infesting a recently deceased corpse.

Relevant to this website, though, was merely the fact that in the museum gift shop, Mogwai was playing softly, a desolate soundtrack and the only time I heard anything approaching interesting contemporary music during our entire two-week trip.

Musically, where have I been? Mostly expanding my horizons in metal listenership. Revisting stuff like Enslaved and Demilich, and familiarizing myself with obscurities like Book of Black Earth, local doom band Salome, the new Asva, and Georgians Kylesa (admittedly more hardcore/punk than metal). I’ll try to write about some of this stuff in the near future as most of this has been dominating my recent listening.

For now, I’ll leave off with this image of Salome, whom I saw with Behold… the Arctopus and Intronaut some three weeks ago, and who really left an impression on me. I wrote up that show at Black Plastic Bag and won’t duplicate that here, since it’s old news anyway. Click on the photo for the full image set at Flickr.