• Lying in a Pile of His Own

    Jul 11 2010, 18h40

    Sat 10 Jul – Lightning Bolt, Indian Jewelry, guardians

    Whew. I've seen Opeth twice. Been way up front for NIN's Lights in the Sky tour. Commanded the center of the pit at a small Fucked Up show. Countless others. Tonight at the Mohawk, a new threshold has been crossed in terms of its physical demands. Lightning Bolt, the seminal noise rock duo from Connecticut, has wrung me out like a sponge. There is nothing left. Halfway into their 90 minute set, I had perspired all I had to perspire.

    I had heard rumors on the internets about Lightning Bolt. How their shows are so intense and offensively loud. That's alright, I can do intense. Loud is fine - I brought a pair of earplugs I'd thrown in a bag before moving two weeks ago. They weren't even setting up in the crowd like they normally do, so I thought I was ready. In fact, I was excited - last year's Earthly Delights packed many punches, most notably the crushing might of "Colossus." As long as I heard that, I'd be happy.

    To explain Lightning Bolt is to reconceptualize what music means to us. Drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale, his kickdrum put in position seconds after opener Indian Jewelry (noisy, sexy Goth rock; I kept thinking Peter Murphy and Kim Gordon's illegit babies) ended, has enough to worry about. With LB, vocals are just another sound frequency. Even with earplugs, the distorted vocals were unintelligible. Chippendale puts a mic inside a crudely fashioned Lucha Libre mask fastened to his head, and proceeds to beat the shit out of his kit to meters and patterns that whip the young, mostly male crowd into a nonstop riot. Brian Gibson, guitarist, is subdued in his on-stage antics compared to his drummer. However, the point I had a hunch that I really wasn't ready for what was about to come came during setup, when the stacks and stacks of amps kept coming. They literally piled to the ceiling, some with fluorescent paint, some with ornaments, one donned "little miss naughty." It was the equivalent of using a firing squad to go after an anthill.

    Tonight's show was a pure, raw, sweaty, beer-y, primal, fight-for-your-life flow of energy. The band nor the crowd ever let up, either. During every single song, a giant pit full of people was constantly shoving, circling, dancing, and otherwise getting physical in response to the gigantic wall of sound being thrust in their ears. I was asked numerous times if I had extra earplugs, and the one guy I gave my spare pair to was incredibly gracious. I'm glad I had mine and had the foresight to stuff my glasses in my pocket; those would have been long gone, almost like the Mastodon show.

    I knew one of the songs played, that being "Colossus." It didn't matter though - soaked to the skin, out of breath, pressure expanding in my head, lifting up the fallen bodies and defending my own - Lightning Bolt isn't a band that is experienced and enjoyed in the traditional sense, standing in place, occasionally moving back and forth. Lightning Bolt physically moves you, spins you around and around, stomps you flat into the earth, and leaves you with an ear to ear smile. Immediately after leaving the venue I removed my drenched ArtPrize shirt and walked the ten blocks to my car in a shirtless daze. I was gawked, I was "look at this guy'd," but those in their fancy Saturday night shirts and slacks didn't come from the same place I did. I didn't even tie my shoes, but made a beeline down 35 to the Wendys. 79c large Hi-C. Gone in 30 seconds.