Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"What's Good" at Soundlab

On April 15th, Alicia and I once again ventured out to Soundlab for a show featuring two of my favorite local artists. I've already written about both Cages and Sonorous Gale a few times, and I don't have much to add this time. They are both consistently awesome, and if you live in the Buffalo area I highly encourage you to check them out. Sonorous Gale will shatter your skull with pure rock brutality and Cages will change your life. Just ask the drummer for the North Carolina band What's Good, who said just that after seeing the versatile vocalist perform.

Her set this time was possibly my favorite, it was the perfect balance of fragile beauty and relentless chaos. She teamed up with Steve Baczkowski, who alternated between creating abstract sound textures using two turntables playing "Frankenstein" records (vinyl that has been cut into pie pieces, then glued back together to create a single record composed of 5 or more different albums) and blaring away on his saxophone. My favorite moments occurred when they both intensified their wailing in a battle to create a greater cacophony, before lapsing back into a quiet croon.

Cages - Soundlab 4/15/09

Cages - Soundlab 4/15/09

The previously mentioned "What's Good" played an excellent set of upbeat instrumental rock, overflowing with complex riffs, lightning fast solos and furiously dynamic drumming. Every so often the lead guitarist would suddenly dance across the stage, as if his feet were possessed by demons of funk. At one point he got so wrapped up in his playing that he collapsed backwards into the drum set! I've seen many guitarists intentionally catapult themselves into the drums at the end of a show, but I've never seen one who was just so focused on rocking out as hard and fast as he could that he completely lost his balance. Seriously awesome.

A band called Skeleton Breath also played that night, and while they were fun, (they had a guy rocking an electric violin who knew what he was doing) they didn't leave much of an impression on me. I've found that I don't really appreciate bands that have a technical excellence if they're lacking passion. You could be the best damn guitar based trio on the planet, but if you're not having a blast playing live and completely in love with performing, then it's just not going to be an interesting show. My favorite bands are the ones that enthusiastically enjoy what they do, it always shows and it's always inspiring. God damn I fucking love live music.