Marriages / Deafheaven / Boris @ The Echoplex; Los Angeles, CA

May 24, 2013

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Hoo boy. The first night of my two-night pass to see the Boris “All-Time Classics” and “Flood” performances left little room for complaint. For starters, Deafheaven blew me the fuck away. I loved Road To Judah, which was recommended to me early last year by Ian. I’ve been digging on their new one (Sunbather, out next month) for the past few days (I think it hit the torrent-wire on Wednesday and I’ve listened to it a dozen times already?), and have been anxious about seeing them because they haven’t played LA in a while.

Vocalist George Clarke is quite an impressive showman, always putting forth a visceral and intense performance. Say what you will about guys who scream their vocals in that raspy death-metal inflection, the guy’s presence on stage is completely arresting. Were it not for the dare I say bouncy rhythms, one could get caught standing still — mouth agape — watching Clarke control the audience with his every move. Guitarist Kerry McCoy is a lot of fun to watch as well. His playing style is way more relaxed and less choppy than one might think based on descriptions of the music. Most people I think are quick to classify Deafheaven as black metal because of the blast beat drumming and screaming, but the guitars wouldn’t sound out of place on a Mogwai record, or maybe the second Explosion In The Sky record. Hell, the first time I heard “Dream House” I tried to tell Ian that the general melody and chugging guitar riffs sounded like they were taken from the Hum record You’d Prefer An Astronaut. Deafheaven is capable of sounding that poppy (well…okay…rock-y) at times. The aforementioned “Dream House” as well as “Violet” — the lead track off Roads To Judah — were the standouts in my opinion. Here’s hoping tonight they throw in their incredible cover of Mogwai’s “Cody” to change things up a bit for the repeat attendees in the crowd.

Setlist:
Dream House
Violet
Unrequited
Sunbather

Once their set ended, it was Boris’ turn to take the stage. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen them (2007, The Echoplex, with Oren Ambarchi and Damon & Naomi) but they sounded great. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around how many times I’ve seen Boris, and the fact that until last night I never thought to wear earplugs at any of the shows. Is this another sign of me getting old? I mean, Jesus Christ, you’ve heard how loud the band is, right? Fuck…just thinking about those back-to-back shows at The Avalon and The Annex in NYC in 2006, setting myself up right in front of Takeshi’s stack of Sunn amplifiers like a doe-eyed dimwit with no earplugs…I’m lucky I’m not deaf these days.

Their set started out quite lovely with two slower, sprawling numbers in “Cosmos” and “Rainbow,” and once the count-off to “Pink” kicked in the pit opened up and those of us near the front of the stage were very quickly displaced. I stuck with it until about 2/3 of the way through the set, then I figured I was good to get a beer and hang out near the back without much of a loss in my ability to enjoy the show. I’m looking forward to tonight’s performance of Flood, as I must say that’s the real reason I picked up these tickets (after getting to see Deafheaven on consecutive nights, of course).

I have to say, the highlight of their set last night was the song “Angel,” a song that I don’t think has appeared on any Boris’ records yet. Maybe that was the meaning for the “future” part of the show description that said, “hits from the past, present, and future.” If you haven’t heard Angel yet, you should look for video clips of it on YouTube from this tour. It’s pretty great.

Setlist:
Cosmos
Rainbow
Pink
Vanilla
Statement
Angel
Heavey Friends
Hama
Dyna-Soar
1970
Farewell

Boris – Leviathan [MP3]

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