Friday, November 13, 2015
Author & Punisher @ the Earl
Didn’t catch local openers the Dead Register, but arrived just in time to catch Portland duo Muscle and Marrow. Their last studio album was “the Human Cry “ which was released in August of last year. While I have not disliked what I heard from Muscle and Marrow's studio output, I never became as immersed in the album, live the really changed the way I think of them. Their performance inspired me to go back and listen to their music with a new set of ears. It's rare when and artist can spin your view of them around with their performance. They were much heavier live and Kira Clark's voice goes from an almost black metal like scathing scream to a vulnerable soprano. She was at times lost in her emotions, this gave way to what might have been seen to some as theatric hand gestures but it seemed to me to be a very honest physical manner in which she channeled the music through her body. While there were samples and layers of vocals triggered from a laptop off stage in comparison to Author and Punisher they were very organic.
Funny enough I also attended Deafheaven a couple days after this show and that show required very little digestion to review. With Author and Punisher, it has taken a few days to process my thoughts on what transpired. I had been looking forward catching Author & Punisher live for some time. You know what Shore does, you might have even seen video of him preforming, but watching it in person unfold before you is a much different experience.to a lesser extent author & punisher also proved to be a much different beast. Having toured with metal bands in recent years the influence was undeniable their was a harsher and more abrasive attack to his live sound. At times this also carried a droning quality to match the static fuzz of the video screens behind him. Some of his more melodic work did not surface until the third act of his seat.
The video screens were more often than not abstract, though there was the moment when you could not tell if it was rabbits or wolves appearing to stare at you from the woods. One of the more interesting reactions, came from One of my friends who met up with us at the show and went into it with little to no knowledge of who or what Author and Punisher is said to me that she felt like she was on drugs. I saw Neurosis on a bunch of drugs about fifteen years ago and I am sure it must have felt very similar. Author and Punisher was more driven that punishing as they layers of artistry involved engulfed the senses. You realized the fingers of his right hand are playing the cymbals of the drum machine triggered by the hydraulic pump that kept the pulse of the performance. It is show much like Swans that must be felt live to truly be appreciated.