Lightning Bolt at DC9

That is the drumset, and some of the speakers, responsible for roughly half of the cacophony that is a Lightning Bolt show.  I was psyched to see that they were coming to DC, and bought a ticket right away, even though I didn’t think the show would sell out since I thought they weren’t known enough even to fill DC9’s admittedly small room.  I was wrong.  My friend couldn’t get a ticket a couple days after I’d gotten mine.  So this was gonna be a solo experience.

I came prepared with a set of earplugs.  I’d seen their excellent concert documentary, The Power of Salad, so I knew they were loud.  And their crowds are enthusiastic.  Being too old for the mosh pit, I positioned myself behind what was soon going to become the first line of flying bodies.

Lightning Bolt is a two-piece band consisting of drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson.  Gibson’s bass makes all kinds of noises that don’t necessarily sound like a standard bass, with several effects pedals (and he tunes his bass to cello tuning standards, thanks Wikipedia!).  As a former drum player, I marvel at Chippendale.  He is all over the place, arms flailing, head bobbing in his signature tied on mask.  This holds his microphone since he provides vocals for the band, though you at least live you can’t make out what he’s saying, it just adds another piece of noise to their arsenal.

Without so much as a hello to the audience, the two launched into their set.  The buzzing crowd was silenced by the duo (or you couldn’t hear them any more).  They were certainly loud, even with my earplugs there was no problem hearing everything going on.  I was holding an empty beer bottle during the set, and I could feel the neck of the bottle vibrating throughout the show.  There was plenty of riffs, which got the front rows raising their fists and crashing into each other, and those behind them nodding their heads along with the beats.  Some of their songs fall into conventional song structures, others just meander (at a fast pace) around riffs and drum fills.

There was none of the normal between-song banter.  One song ended, the next began, giving the crowd no time to catch their breath.  A little over an hour later, Chippendale and Gibson walked off the stage.  They came back for two more songs and then as quickly as it started it ended.

I really enjoyed the show.  The fact that they just played, rocked it, and left was a welcome diversion from some of the bigger shows I’ve attended in the past year.  That was rock n’ roll, even if many would just call it noise.  Here’s a link to a video I took of Lightning Bolt playing one of my favorite songs of theirs, Dracula Mountain (I got tired of holding up my camera which accounts for the black portions in the middle).

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One Response to “Lightning Bolt at DC9”

  1. Lightning Bolt, Liturgy, May 3, 2015 @ Echoplex | Nothing to Write Home About Says:

    […] for the main attraction, Rhode Island’s Lightning Bolt.  I saw them about 5 years ago and my review gives you a good idea what I saw here in LA.  One difference was that Brian Chippendale was much […]

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