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Eagle Twin, Pelican, Earth and Sunn 0))) at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Sept. 22

Posted by on Oct 1, 2009 in Music | 0 comments

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If you’ve worn one of these on your wrist, you’re going to Hell.

I don’t know how long the Brooklyn Masonic Temple has been putting on shows, but it was a trip for me to go to my old neighborhood, Fort Greene, to see a concert.

The crowd (read, “men and boys”) dressed appropriately in decayed metallic wear for the bill of four Southern Lord acts: Eagle Twin, Pelican, Earth and headliner Sunn 0))).

My takeaway is that I have seen the future of heavy music and that Pelican is that future.

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Twin Eagle, you guys definitely look cool and I will listen to your new album “The Unkindness of Crows” many more times.

Twin Eagle is a duo of a guitar player who can also throat sing and a tireless drummer who soon became shirtless. They did have a full and developed sound, but it isn’t really for me, at least not this night.  Their new album is growing on me, though.

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Pelican! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Next up were Pelican. Did they get their name from the fact that all four members are tall and lanky?  They are an all-instrumental band and there are elements of various species of metal and tuneful punk.
Sound good to you?

Here’s another cool thing about the band.  They are down with tapers, so check out some of their live shows on archive.org.

Despite the lack of a traditional frontman, Pelican did have a rapport with the audience. One of the guitarists would move to a microphone on the side and speak in modest words.

“Thanks for coming early,” he said early on. Later he noted they were playing songs from a forthcoming album on Southern Lord.

Pelican won fans that night, and the applause grew with each song.

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Down to Earth.

Earth, another vocal-less band, was up next, but their set was delayed by apparent problems with the drum set up. Leader Dylan Carlson was friendly and affable from the start, but while playing, he would turn his back on the crowd to concentrate. They opened with “Omens and Portents II.”  At the end of the song, somebody yelled out a loud “Yee haw!” and Carlson chided him with, “You’re at the wrong show!”

The title track to The Bees Made Honey in the Lions’ Skull was next.  The acoustics for the temple were perfect for Earth’s slow-core, epically cinematic sound.  Every instrument – guitar, bass, drums and keyboards – was distinct and yet also came together at key points as if jazz were the genre.

Then they played a new song from their as-yet-unrecorded new album. Fans won’t be disappointed when said album is released next year.

Three songs and that was it for Earth, barely more than half an hour of playing time. The crowd bellowed for an encore, but Carlson shrugged. The matter was out of his hands, as Sunn 0))) had to set up.

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Sunn o))) of a. . .

They should have let Earth do an encore.  Sunn 0))) was supposed to go on at midnight, but well past 12:30 am, the only thing moving on stage was concert fog accompanied by pre-recorded throat singing.  The crowd grew antsy and there was a palpable annoyance running throughout the fully attended sold-out show, particularly among those standing on the ground floor.

Finally Sunn 0)))’s two principals, Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, came out in hooded black robes.  They proceeded to wield guitars and basses in front of their amps, slashing away in the air to get better howls of feedback.  This went on for almost 20 minutes before vocalist Attila Csihar came out in a robe and narrated a story about humankind and rituals before a few rounds of throat singing punctuated with guttural grunts.

I remember thinking at the time that this portion of the show was painfully boring. Yet, as I turn to my recording of the show, I actually find it interesting and yielding more with each listen. The guitars, but the way, were turned up in accordance to the band’s mantra, “Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results.”  (It was the second-loudest show I’ve ever been to.  My Bloody Valentine at Roseland last year was several-fold louder – it was the only show I’ve been to where I could feel my clothes rippling on my body from the soundwaves alone.)

After that section, Csihar made a costume change into a goth Statue of Liberty complete with mirror pieces and shooting red lasers from his fingertips.  He later changed into an outfit that resembled a tree growing through a burlap sack.

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Sunn 0))) finally sets.  It’s past 2 AM at this point.

At the end of their set, Csihar crawled out of his costume, baring his upper body, and all three men bowed,  waved and raised their arms in triumph — acknowledging the crowd for the first time in their 90-minute set.

Oh, and by the way, if you were looking for Sunn 0)))’s latest album Monoliths and Dimensions on vinyl or the (初心) Grimmrobes Live 101008 cassette (!), the merch table on the current tour is the only place to get them. (Whoops!  Wrote too soon!)

Congratulations to the Blackened Music Series for putting up such an unforgettable show. I didn’t enjoy every minute of it, but it was continuously challenging in the aural, intellectual and spiritual senses.  I’ll be back.

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