Monday, March 2, 2009
A Night of New York Metal
New York hasn't had cred as a metal mecca since well before the grunge invasion, so last week it was fun to check out a solid show comprised fully of local bands. Unfortunately, my interest level was in direct contradiction of the lineup order, which featured Wetnurse, Villians and headliners Bloody Panda. Still, everyone's energy was fantastic, and any time I'm in a dark, loud club hearing power chords, I'm a happy girl.
The main attraction for me, far and away, was Wetnurse. Having gotten more and more into their album, Invisible City, over the past few months, I was pretty eager to see them live for the first time. And despite the lack of stage lighting and liberal fog machine usage (seriously, it was like an SF Bay morning—save the masking effects for an uglier band, like Crowbar, maybe?), they in no way disappointed. Vocalist Gene Fowler prowled the stage like a feral Black Flag-era Henry Rollins while delivering a spastic, guttural performance. Meanwhile, the band showcased their refined amalgam sound—which seems as impervious to pigeonholing as ever—throughout their all-too-short set. And any time I see two Warlock guitars on a stage in this day and age, it's a mitzvah. But no offense, guys, I really want to see you someplace far grimier than Santos Party House. Hopefully, I'll get that chance when they play Public Assembly with Genghis Tron and Tombs on April 12.
Next up were Villains, and though they were new to me, the shady band members were not. Featuring Cattlepress' Eddie Ortiz on guitar and Hemlock's Leno "Beat Poet" on vocals, this act was far less refined, yet retained all the raw energy I enjoyed about their former groups. Though half the songs sounded like the intro to Metallica's "Damage Inc." they ultimately won me over with their brutal sound.
The same cannot be said of Bloody Panda. As soon as I saw the hooded band members (perhaps they don't want people to know they are in Bloody Panda?), I realized I'd seen them a month ago opening for Nachtmystium. Imagine my disappointment. Better yet, imagine a band that sounds like Yoko Ono meeting Boris and you too would realize that nothing good could come of it. Though the atmospheric performance seemed to enthrall the crowd, it was definitely just that—a doomy, dramatic performance, but not a headline-worthy set. Shit, I'd rather have seen Wetnurse come out again for an encore—or even a set full of covers (imagine what they'd do on a Dillinger Escape Plan/Plagiarism-type EP... Makes my nipples hard just thinking about it).
So, in closing: go see Wetnurse, save the bloody panda love for Gloomy Bear and sign my forthcoming Facebook petition for Leno to be the write-in candidate for NYC Mayor (he can run on the Hater platform).