30 April 2008

Dead Meadow @ Bug Jar

Due to illness and general lack of sleep, I had to unfortunately pass on the Tea Leaf Green show last Thursday night which I had been planning on seeing for a while. But since I missed that one, I made sure to hit another show that was on my radar on Saturday, Dead Meadow back at the Bug Jar. I had never heard any of their music previously but their name had popped up recently in a few of the places I go for trustworthy recommendations, and the descriptions of their music piqued my interest.

There were two openers, both local bands. I had hoped to miss the first, I was still recovering and just didn't think I had it in me to sit through 3 bands that night. I called ahead and they said Dead Meadow would be starting at 11. I got to the bar around 10:20 or so. The first band came on about 15 minutes later. Crud. The 3 bands together formed a nice spectrum of the heavy rock genre. The first band was Crush the Junta. They played 3 songs in what was a little over 30m. Each song was a long very very very slow build to a very minimal release. Kind of reminded me a bit of the Explosions in the Sky general song structure, but without the soaring guitars, almost purely rhythm. Each musician would repeat the same thing over and over with slight variation and ever so slightly building in intensity. The drummer really was the leader and most varied in his playing, and he really kicked ass. He was from the band Tiger Cried Beef whom I saw open for Fiery Furnaces on the same stage a few months ago.

The next band was called Orodruin, a self-proclaimed death metal band. This was the band I was hoping to miss, so I was fairly annoyed when I realized I hadn't. I imagine death metal to be straight screaming and noise, and these guys were much more controlled and interesting than that. Fine musicianship (especially on guitar) and some deep dark rock anthems. It was bit over the top and almost campy to that end, but they were quite fun. Not exactly my bag, but when one of the bands I like comes out with the evilness these guys brought to every tune, I usually get pretty excited. so...

Finally, around 12:30, Dead Meadow came on. The exhaustion started to set in on my end. I was having a hard time staying awake throughout their set. That was partly my problem, but also, I have been to plenty of shows where my exhaustion quickly dissipates once the band starts kicking my ass. These guys were rocking pretty damn hard, but it was also lacking something, I don't know, maybe melody? Tough to say, but it didn't grab me like I wanted it to. I was ready to be smitten and have a new favorite rock band. The lead singer sounded a lot like Kurt Cobain to me. Do others feel that way? That wasn't an issue, just putting that out there. I just thought in the end that all of the songs kind of dripped into each other and they didn't really distinguish themselves. Still, I did like this band, somewhere in between the over the top metal of Orodruin, and the experimental instrumental rock of Crush the Junta. These guys had the goods. I look forward to seeing them again and hopefully I will be more alert to take it all in. I would love to see them share a stage with Rose Hill Drive. That would be a great double bill. In the meantime, I leave you with this:

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