Astrononid / Ghost Bath @ Complex; Glendale, CA
Astronoid, the band responsible for my favorite record of 2016, finally made it to Los Angeles this past Friday night. I was so excited to find out they were opening for Ghost Bath on a West Coast/Southwest tour, I bought tickets for the show at Complex on Friday night and Saturday night’s show at Soda Bar in San Diego. I jumped the gun a little, unfortunately, as Saturday turned out to be the only possible day I could get corral my friends for a birthday celebration. So I didn’t make it down to SD, but the show at Complex in Glendale was everything I’d hoped it would be. Well, to be fair I was hoping they’d just played Air in its entirety, but supporting bands don’t normally get to do that. Oh well.
If you haven’t read my previous write-up of Air, here’s what I wrote:
Call it “thrashgaze,” or “blackgaze” or “dream metal” if you want. Hell, you can even create your own genre to describe the contents of this record. You have just as much authority on the subject as any other self-proclaimed blogger/journalist. At the end of the day, we can all agree that Air is a wholly unique collection of bombastic, melodic metal tunes. To my ears Air finds a soft spot between emo (the good kind of emo!), shoegaze and black metal. It’s atmospheric, bolstered by propulsive rhythms, with stunning vocal harmonies and melodies decidedly skewed towards major keys. Back in June I was content to rank this in the top five albums of the year, but as 2016 wore on I found myself listening to it more and more frequently. While running, at work, stuck in traffic, it hit me harder than any other album I heard this year. The lyrics are littered with references to space travel, love, euphoria, longing, and hope. Of those themes, it’s the yearning for something greater, the “HOPE!” message that resonates the most. 2016 is going to be remembered by many as a year that left folks feeling dejected, afraid, confused and angry. What better testament to our collective desire for better days ahead is there than the album that delivers triumphant messages like, “We are free / A new day / The sun shines bright for us,” and “The unknown beginning to shine / The future is better than bright / A reason to all find out.” Air is overflowing with hope. If you haven’t heard it, check it out. Let its grandiose arrangements and heaping chunks of canorous joy be the positivity you need to start 2017 with a smile.
At Complex on Friday night the band roared through a five-song set. To my eyes and ears it was just about perfect. If I had my druthers they would have played “Homesick,” but in doing so they would have basically played the full album, so it’s unreasonable for me to have expected that. The songs they did play were phenomenal. The melody and power translated well in a live setting. They were tight as hell, and Brett Boland’s voice sounded great. The room felt more than half-empty during their set, but five or six fans raced up the front of the stage and screamed every word along with him. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a show where that happens.
Up And Atom
Ghost Bath are a band Ian introduced me to on a drive out to Joshua Tree. The first time I listened to their album all the way through in my car, I cranked up the volume so loud it fucked up one of my speakers. I can’t claim to know any of their song titles, and none of the songs have lyrics (just screeching…endless, shrill screeching) so there was zero chance of me recognizing any of the songs they played. I know they have a new album coming out called Starmourner so in all likelihood they played at least one song of that album.
I’m not gonna lie, I think it’s kind of funny that Ghost Bath got shit from Deafheaven for ripping them off (by having an album called Moonlover and a song called “Happyhouse” when Deafheaven’s album Sunbather includes a song called “Dreamhouse”) and have now doubled down by calling the new record Starmourner.
I was a little disappointed they didn’t go with their normal costumes (the singer in all black and the rest of the band dressed head-to-toe in white, like this). I like the idea of a band playing death metal but dressed mostly in white. Kinda goes against the norm.
Astronoid – Air [MP3]
Ghost Bath – Golden Number [MP3]
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