Monday night’s show was sure to be an interesting one. I was intrigued on how the line-up would work. It was a show with a singer-songwriter, an instrumental rock band, and an innovative black metal band. If that doesn’t get you out of your apartment on a Monday night, I don’t know what will.
Opening up the show was Ruth Emma Rundle, a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. Emma posses one of the most eerily haunting yet beautiful voices I have ever heard. With the reverb a bit on the heavy side, her whispered lines of lyrics turned into a powerful swirl of vocals. The lines of music played by her backing band seemed to take a backseat to her voice which helped her truly beautiful voice shine throughout the set. There’s a sense of darkness to her music but it’s not as heavy as you would expect. It left me feeling light and ready for whatever was going to come next.
A friend of mine introduced me to This Will Destroy You a couple of years ago. I was instantly hooked. Their instrumental music isn’t my typical cup of tea but there was something about these guys that made them stand-out to me. I was reminded of my love for these guys last night as I stood in the corner and let the wall of sound crash into me.
As mentioned, This Will Destroy You is an instrumental group which is typically what I listen to when trying to fall asleep at night. Without lyrics to focus on, most instrumental music is a bit on the boring side to me but something is different about these guys. They have an attitude in their music which is unmatched by any other instrumental band I’ve heard. Although, at times, their music has an atmospheric sound to it that leans towards the side of ambient, there is a sense of energy about them when seeing them live. It’s not that the band members are running around stage or even moving at all for that matter, there’s just this inexplicable sense of energy that I can not get enough of.
The music that TWDY plays is complex to put it simply (see what I did there?). Even without lyrics, there are so many elements to focus on that it seems a bit overwhelming at times. There was no shortage of emotion as the band’s sound swelled, forming a bit of an ocean of sound throughout the foggy venue. Every once in awhile, they would erupt into an explosion of sound much like a wave crashing into you. Sure, there were times during TWDY’s set that I could have easily curled up in my corner with a pillow and blanket and fallen asleep but that’s part of the beauty of this band. It can fill the room and your soul with so much emotion that you don’t know quite what to do. Do you head bang? Do you sleep? The best thing is, it doesn’t matter how music affects you, the point is it makes you feeling something and TWDY definitely does that.
As I recovered from the roller coaster that was TWDY, Deafheaven was setting up. I’m not quite sure if I had ever actually listened to Deafheaven. I knew of them, I knew kinda what they did and I knew I laughed my ass off when reading The Hard Times’ article about the bassist falling asleep on stage (The Hard Times is a satirical website that has super funny articles for those who have lost themselves in the music scene. 10 out of 10– would recommend). Within the first couple of notes of Deafheaven’s set, I was hooked.
Hailing from San Francisco, Deafheaven had the nearly sold out crowd in the palm of their hands from the moment they played their first note. Their musical styling was enough to make any notion of dipping out of the show a bit early leave my mind. When they started their set, it sounded the same as TWDY but with a heavier drumbeat in the background. It’s when singer George Clarke started singing that I had to take a step back. The instrumentation of this band was a beautiful cascade of sound but with a sense of speed and brutality that had been missing previously in the night. George’s voice added a sinister black metal feel to the music which brought the whole experience to a totally new level.
You can’t pin these guys into one genre. There are times when it is the most beautiful instrumental music you have ever heard and then other times where it is some of the heaviest black metal you have ever heard. It keeps you on your toes and it kept me staying out far past my bedtime on a Monday night. Much like TWDY, there were moments during Deafheaven’s set where I wanted to take a quick nap but other moments when I really just wanted to get lost and sweaty in a mosh pit.
Last night’s show was a mix of beauty and chaos. There was a sense of brutality and sensitivity that seemed to swirl around creating one of the most unique atmospheres I have ever experienced at a concert.
Just as I suspected, last night’s show was more than worth leaving the apartment for.