Posts Tagged ‘lightning bolt’

Lightning Bolt, Liturgy, May 3, 2015 @ Echoplex

May 6, 2015

After seeing Dan Deacon get the crowd moving at the Echoplex on Friday, I was back to the same venue to see Lightning Bolt do the same thing. Though the way the bands do it and the way people move is quite different.

I missed the first opener, but got there in time to see Liturgy, a metal band that I’d throw into the “doom/black” variety of metal. There was appropriate riffage and the drummer specialized in high speed bass drum kicks that  led the charge on many of their songs. Lyrics kind of got lost in the noise; the lead singer was soft spoken and didn’t say much beyond announcing the name of the band and a perfunctory thanks when they finished their set.  Their new album was supposed to incorporate some elements not found in the genre, like bells, and sure enough there was one song that featured some prerecorded glockenspiel. It worked for me, the bells were a nice contrast to the dark and heavy guitar and drumming.  The crowd seemed to be into it, with a few enthusiastic young guys flipping the bird at the stage in unison with the music. I guess that’s a sign of respect in this genre? I’m out of my element on that one.

Following a short break it was time 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 more talkative.  He greeted the enthusiastic crowd and told a story of how they almost didn’t make it to LA from Oakland when he wanted to pull into a gas station to get a juice and didn’t notice the median and curb and launched their van airborne, over the median, and made it back to asphalt without breaking an axle.  The punchline: the gas station was closed.

All the things I liked about seeing them before was on display again.  Chippendale is a human dynamo on the drums, which contrasts with the stoic Brian Gibson on bass.  One thing they both do is create a cacophony that still finds its way to lock into a groove.  And then pummel that groove to death.  Their new album, Fantasy Empire, has been touted as having more of a metal bent.  A good bit of the set was that new material and there was a lively mosh pit and a lot of headbashing.  I had secured a spot right by the soundboard, so I was safe.  While on record these new songs do sound a bit more “polished”, that polish is smeared all over the place during their live show.  There are waves of rhythm coming at you, and every so often, the wave recedes and allows one of them to breathe and let the other start building the next wave.

They came out for an encore with two ferocious takes on two old songs, Dracula Mountain and Ride the Sky.  The mosh pit reacted in kind and even in my “safe” spot we had a couple bodies come flying into us.  A great end to their set.

Here’s a decent video recapping the performances of both Liturgy and Lightning Bolt (LB starts at 3:04).  I didn’t see the first opener Baby Aspirin DVD (there’s a short bit of them in the video too).

Give the Drummer(s) Some!

January 12, 2015
Brian Chippendale's drum kit.

Brian Chippendale’s drum kit.

Take two drummers from bands that don’t follow conventional rock standards, put them in a room together with two drum sets, say GO!, and you get this. Brian Chippendale from Lightning Bolt and Greg Saunier from Deerhoof put out a two track LP of the two playing as a drum duo. There is an accompanying documentary that gives some background on the two. I’ve seen Chippendale live and he’s a manically fast and attacking drummer. Saunier, from clips I’ve seen is equally as forceful but gets there in a more roundabout way with legs and arms moving like an octopuses tentacles.

Drum solos usually aren’t a means to an end, they are sandwiched between the bread of a rock song. That’s why this an interesting listen to me. They mess around with tempo, the individual drums in their kits that they either play in tandem, opposition or somewhere in between. They lock into grooves that then crumble around them and they start building again. I don’t know if the two tracks were recorded sequentially but the second seems a little more complete as a composition and maybe an easier intro for a listener.

I don’t think it’s something for everyone, but if you enjoy percussion or improvisational jazz, I think you should check it out.  You can stream both tracks at the link above.

Coming Soon: LCD Soundsystem Concert Film!

January 11, 2012

Noticed on Pitchfork today that they were running a trailer (see below) for a new concert film documenting James Murphy and gang’s last performance in NYC in 2011.  I’m a sucker for music documentaries and I’m a fan of LCD, so this will be something I’ll be writing about.  Since I won’t be attending Sundance this year (ok, I’ve never attended Sundance), I’ll have to wait until it makes its way to theaters.  Having witnessed the power of their live show once, I’m thinking this will be pretty entertaining and James Murphy seems like he would be a fun person to follow around with a camera.

Here’s a few other music documentaries to tide you over while you wait:

  • Dig – A fascinating look at two bands trying to “make it”.  One succeeds, the other not so much.  In addition to the music, a great character study of the two lead singers.
  • Power of Salad – A little harder to find, but a great short documentary about noise rock pioneers Lightning Bolt.  Shows off the adrenaline and racket (I saw them once and it was definitely the loudest show I’ve witnessed) of their live show, as they rock anywhere from small clubs to some dudes’ kitchen.
  • The Filth and the Fury – Telling the story of the Sex Pistols makes for good film, and Julien Temple does not disappoint with candid comments from the surviving members.
  • Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii – Of course Pink Floyd would play a live set in the ruins of an amphitheater at Pompeii.  Filmed in 1972, before Dark Side, this covers material from Saucerful of Secrets and Meddle, with some in-studio cut-aways to the making of Dark Side.

I could keep on going, but that should be a good start.  Any one else have any favorite music documentaries?

Lightning Bolt at DC9

July 16, 2010

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).