Saturday, March 24, 2012
Alcest / Deafheaven
While there is a funny story within a funny story about this show, we can skip all that and go straight to the rocking as there was plenty to be had. With Speedwolf playing the after-show, the crowd was a weird mix of two divergent schools of hipster metal. The main show was post-rock/hip-black metalists, if such a subculture exists outside of Brooklyn Vegan, this was it , then the thrash/punks no big frame glasses just beards and denim vests, funny enough all the participants of this scene were not even born when"Practice What you Preach" was released but are quick to call Alcest fans poseurs ...now there's some Irony Maiden. But being the tough guys they are that crowd milled about and the overall vibe was very relaxed for a metal in comparison to the Deicide crowd.
UberChriist first up sounds much less like the want to be Darkthrone live, while the harsh vocals were a disappointment from what I have heard of their Studio, the addition of bassist Lamar from Wolves and Jackals was a wise choice as he holds them down better for the guitar to explore more ambient territory, live the came across more High On Fire than the raw black metal kvlt stuff they are supposed to be parodying ,but much improved you can see where their real identity begins now.
Deafheaven was up next and the crowd for these guys was even much different from the crowd for Alcest, as it seemed more like a hardcore show with out the windmilling and kickboxing dances.Deafheaven with out a doubt stole the show. They had an intensity to them that could not be denied. Front-man George Clarke's stage presence makes up for his one dimensional vocal attack. The playing was spot on with a shimmer slaps you and then shakes you while the cathartic exorcism explodes into the ether on waves of delay and distortion. Either I'm going deaf or I expected them to be louder.
Alcest took the stage with an understated meekness about them. The mix they got did not do their style any favors and the mix played against their strengths which are the vocals. Neige's lighter upper register singing floated against the grain and the bass and drums dominated, the reverse of their albums where guitar and vocals have the spotlight. So from one perspective live showcased another element of their sound the recordings don't.Their set was a well balanced mix of the old and new giving a fair representation to their many facets.The guitar parts were executed as with expected finesse but needed a boost as on their albums the fairy land melodies ring out in such a way it carries you away before you miss the bite most metal has.The heavier sections towards the second half of the set really stood out, the drummer was really smacking his snare on the blast beats rather than playing gravity blasts, there were several builds that did capture their awe inspiring sound and enjoyed their set but left wanting to seem them louder in a environment more fitting to their capabilities.