A Place To Bury Strangers, With Prettiest Eyes, Sextile At The Regent Theater, Saturday June 9th 2018
On Saturday night, there was a cloud of anxiety mixed with nervous beats during the entire evening of music of the Regent theater, but it was also a happy night filled with powerful performances while I was glad to see two of my favorite local bands opening for A Place To Bury Strangers.
With their stripped-down and all-throb music, Prettiest Eyes have made us laugh and jump of euphoria for a while by now. As usual, the trio was all angular music and harsh beats with Marcos’ menacing catch-you-in-a-corner bass, Pachy’s restless drumming over trippy-vocals and Paco’s spaceship noises coming from the keyboard whipped by his hair. As they are known for, they put up a crazy psychedelic UFO dance party, filled with squealing weirdness, steaming tempos and songs thrown at our faces like lethal weapons… but I am only talking about the way Marcos holds his instrument, because their all-throbbing sound creeps inside your body like an unexpected visitor. Pachy, who was most of the timed hidden behind his drumset, suddenly jumped on it as if he wanted to dive among the crowd, but he continued to perform the band’s mind-crawling numbers at this top position.
Sextile have developed a real obsession with catchy beats, which mostly come from drummer Melissa who never sits down, but they mix them up with industrial noises and Brady Keehn’s shouted cold delivery. If they call their genre ‘primitive post punk from outer space’, their aggressiveness was blending with an infectious dancefloor, they kept fully alive till the end of the show, with many sonic variations. I have seen Sextile a few time since I discovered them when they opened for Algiers last year, but their creative music always brings rewarding surprises and this time, at the top of playing new songs, they had a new addition in the band: multi-instrumentalist Jeffertitti Moon (The Entire Universe, Jeffertitti’s Nile) brought the show to a new level of energy with his crazy guitar dance combined with Keehn’s high jumps.
Because of their inventive music and high energy sets, these two bands were the perfect introduction to A Place to Bury Strangers, although I had never seen the Brooklyn band live, it didn’t took long to get introduced to their loud atmospheric wall of sound transforming into a repeated squall of noise.
The trio has earned the title of New York City’s ‘loudest band’ from various reviewers, and if they indeed didn’t fail their high-decibel reputation on Saturday night, my eardrums survived quite well, but I may not say the same of my eyes. These people like to play in the shadow – figuratively, as they may at times play in the shadow of a more famous band, as they have often been described as largely influenced by Jesus and Mary Chains – but also literally, as their entire set was played in the dark, while stroboscopic lights were flashing on their faces at the speed of… light, leaving photographers (me included) a bit unprepared for the situation.
Guitarist Oliver Ackermann, bassist Dion Lunadon and drummer Lia Braswell were whipped by an incessant play of strobes and green or red lasers, while there wasn’t a moment to breathe during their high-energy hour-long set,… actually there was one, everything slowed down for a minute between two songs, letting Braswell sing a peaceful and short hymn-like interlude, while she accompanied herself with a small harp… But soon, their fabulous and unstoppable noise-rock machine was back on tracks, with a violent ballet between Ackermann and Lunadon, and a theatrical guitar smashing barely lit by the intermittent lighting.
With a few lineup changes, 5 albums under their belt, and a new one this year (‘Pinned’), they had plenty to choose from, and older songs were naturally acclaimed by fans, who already knew there would be a jam-in-the-crowd moment. When this moment came, everyone got into an euphoric dance, confirming the good news that even a predictable out-of-stage antic will always be received as a special treat.
The show was a raucous riot with a fuzzy vortex of guitar, bleeding distortion and aiming at chaos. Even though I was not too familiar with APTBS’s music, I got an interesting glimpse at their melodic noise rock: a large inspiration from the post-punk scene, vocals coming from all of them and deeply buried in a cacophonic pedal-amped sonic barrier, while chaos reigns from start to finish. This is a band which is obviously well-oiled for live performances, the show was rowdy, the kids were jumping, Ackermann and Lunadon never stopped moving around, but nothing looked too dangerous though,… even when Lunadon violently dropped his bass on the stage floor… if there was blood, it was only coming from the ears of the front row people.
We’ve Come So Far
You Are The One
There’s Only One Of Us
Never Coming Back
(We Love Los Angeles- We Love to Dance)
Keep Slipping Away
I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart