Friday, August 03, 2012
Mares of Thrace with Pilgrim and Primitive Weapons [O'Brien's, Allston, 7/31/2012]
The countdown to the summer tour was now down to less than a week, so though I'd screwed up in the morning and not brought my kutte in to work, and though it was drizzling, which in the city ended up getting closer to a downpour, I still went in to see three bands of low familiarity and nontrivial auras of hipsterism. I said I'd be in, and so I was, despite a late start and a steadily building rain on the hike over The bar was suspiciously full -- unattended shows are a downer, sure, but too many people and you start wondering if you're still kvlt enough -- but still enough room on the floor to find something to lean against and drink, waiting waiting waiting for the bands to start....which, utterly disconnected from the published 8pm doors, predictably happened around 9:30. I got in at 9:15, so I'm not really complaining, but at this point it's not even PRST, it's getting to be deliberate exploitation of people who aren't at every show and know how these things work.
Primitive Weapons [4.5/7]
I was initially stunned when this band started up. Not because they were so good, or so brutal, and not solely because they were so different from the rest of the bill, but mostly because I never expected to hear a band like this again, especially one from Brooklyn. I couldn't place it to an exact best-comparable, but this style of chaotic hardcore was so common in eastern New England in the early part of last decade that you couldn't throw a rock at a NEMHF in that time period without it bouncing off five local bands who, to a closest approximation, sounded exactly like this. They had some additional turns at the end, but for a total effect that felt like a spare pallet of MAHXC getting backed over some spare Pelican riffs. They drew polite applause from the crowd, but not much more, probably because they brought way more energy than this very doom metal crowd was looking for -- or even prepared to deal with -- and maybe to a small degree because the people who would have been more into them were trying to figure out if they'd somehow gone through a slipgate back to 2003. This will play better in other territories, but it was decent enough here as well.
While Primitive Weapons was packing up, I saw this crate and had to take the picture.
TROLOLOLOLOLOLOL. This actually refers to God Fires Man, but you can't take this acronym out in Boston and expect people not to point and laugh at it.
I'd not actually seen Pilgrim since they got signed -- or, actually, at all since that first time, but this is largely immaterial. They've improved since then, but still haven't completely broken free of the oppressive gravity of Planet Sabbath. More speed may help them attain escape velocity, as the standout spot in this set was the fast part in "Quest", but that works largely against the band's bread and butter, ceaselessly low and glacial with "the Wizard"'s clear tenor floating over the top. This still works, of course, and Pilgrim did lay down a set here worthy of a band on a cadet branch of a major label, but their ceiling is still higher, and they definitely have the potential to continue to improve from here.
Devotions to Astaroth.
Mares of Thrace [6.5/7]
It's not often that you get a band out of Canada here, let alone one from the wilds of Calgary (well, wilds as our parochial area goes -- it's certainly no Iqaluit), nevermind one at that with two female members and a unique grind-flavored take on doom metal. Mares fused the doom lows that we got from Pilgrim with vastly more energy and variety, coming off in some ways like a rebalanced JBvDLP, using a similar but more deeply worked Earth vocabulary to kickass effect. Image is of course secondary to music, but those put off by the band's borderline-twee press packs will be happy to learn that Thérèse is, true to her other projects, significantly more metal in person, and Rae, in addition to holding down the kit perfectly on short notice, has excellent taste in shirts, probably due to the momentary Woods connection. Much better than might have been anticipated going in, and definitely a band to look out for in the future.
Scott under the spot; make your own jokes about the invisibility of dudes touring with mostly-female bands, or just bass players in general.
After Mares closed up, I picked up discs from Primitive Weapons and Pilgrim, then hung around a while waiting for the sea of admirers around the Canadians to subside so I could buy some goddamned stuff. This turned out to be a shirt and two CDs at a price point that didn't leave me broke after paying my tailor bills the next day, and after that a hike through more solid rain back to the car pickup. Good show, but the last for a while; there was a nice Metal Thursday this week and Slayer at the Mayhem tour on Friday, but there's too much to be done to get ready. Not days so much as hours left now.