Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Thrones, Cerberus Rex, Dream Hearse and Grey Cover @ the Red Room (5/3/13)
This show interested me because it had a bunch of question marks attached to it (for me, anyway). I knew of the other bands with whom Thrones a.k.a. Joe Preston had been involved (Earth, Sunn O))), the Melvins) but had never seen him before. I'd seen Cerberus Rex before but not since Pat Perkins had left. Finally, this show marked the debuts of two local groups, Dream Hearse and Grey Cover.
I counted only fifteen people when I got to the Red Room. By the time that Thrones played, that number would build to just a little under fifty (a good chunk of whom would opt to hang out on the patio). Far less people than I'd expected, but not too bad, I guess.
Grey Cover kicked off the night. A few days prior, I received a message from a member of this band inviting me to cover their second show. I still get a good chuckle out of that. Not that I don't understand first-show trepidation, but it proved unwarranted here: their sludgy dirge-beats and doomy guitar drones went over quite well. I couldn't really tell what Arleth Medellin was saying, but she groaned with such conviction that I took it on faith that it made sense. Meanwhile, Ian Corrigan's sharp fills darted in here and there as Ellen Rumel slashed steadfastly onward. And actually, the songs weren't all dirgey and doomy: you could've maybe even danced to a couple of them. If anything, this set was too short. Oh well. There'll be others.
Dream Hearse played next. Given my various disparaging remarks about bands emphasizing sound over sense, I suppose that some may consider my enjoyment of this set perverse. What did the trick for me was how this group (whose guitar player I recognized from another noise band I was fond of, Microbabies) tickled and teased the rational mind rather than pummel it into submission (cf. Wooden Indian Burial Ground). The frequent stop-start passages, where you think the song's over NO WAIT! okay, now it's really over NO WAIT!, exemplified this trait most clearly. Also, as this may suggest, their songs did actually show some good construction; each one had its own distinct riff, arrangement, etc. This helped render their incomprehensibility articulate and even witty. A very neat trick.
Cerberus Rex played next. I never thought that I'd live to say/write that I was disappointed to hear a band's vocals better. No dis on Josh Galloway's bellow or lyrics, both of which sounded fine; it's just that I missed hearing Pat Perkins snarl and weave. Since this band continued to showcase one of the best guitar players in town, however, I couldn't complain too much. Also, the reduction in sonic density allowed me to perceive better the solid craftsmanship of the songs as well as the strong rapport between Galloway's fluid basslines, Z.V. House's gargantuan riffs and raw solos and Jake Hite's tank-like drums. A notch less roiling but still plenty powerful.
Thrones closed out the night. I got the feeling that this guy was gonna be okay when he kicked off his set with a charmingly half-hearted merch pitch. The rest of Joe Preston's set proved me right. A playful, tongue-in-cheek quality pervaded his guttural vocals, grinding basslines and recordings of booming drums and whirring, whining synth. This came through most clearly in his samples from The Exorcist and live shows ("Are you having a good time!? Have you had enough to drink tonight!?"). Preston didn't goof around too much, however: he kept the music intricate and pulverizing enough to satisfy any metalheads in the crowd. All in all, good fun.
You can find info on Cerberus Rex and Thrones on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents. If you like what you've read and would like to help keep it going, click the yellow "Give" button and donate whatever you can. Even $5 can go a long way.