Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Place to Bury Ear Drums

As I walked into Emo's I heard The Boxing Lesson's singer say "Alright guys, this is going to be our last show with this drummer, because he's going to jail." I chuckled to myself, because he was joking...right? They proceeded to play a solid set of psychedelic rock. The audience was led by a few enthusiasts in the front row swaying and contorting with the deep drones. At the end of their songs, everyone seemed satisfied, even their drummer, who actually was on his way to jail (for growing pot). What a shame. These guys know how to rock, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their show to anyone...a much more palatable version of what was to come.

A Place to Bury Strangers' Sunday night show was filled with lots of wonder. I wonder what song they are playing? I wonder how much long term hearing loss I am incurring? I wonder what this would sound like further away from the speakers?

And as I looked around, I saw a similar wonder in everyone's expression. The crowd's lackluster head bobs and glazed stares said "I was really psyched about their CD, but I am being completely bulldozed by sound waves."

My first impression was the same confusion "this is not the CD! You heathens! Play something I can recognize." But as overwhelming and indistinguishable as the songs may have been, I found the sound magnetic. I mean it's the only show I've ever been to where I literally felt like I was swimming in music. What did APTBS want to accomplish by playing the music that loud? I don't know, but what they did accomplish was to create a space where there is no distance between you and the music, it is all-encompassing. A space where you can't talk to the person next to you, or even hear yourself cough.

This is certainly not the type of show everyone will enjoy, or understand, or even want to see repeatedly. A Place to Bury Strangers doesn't play live shows to grant sing-alongs, they play in utter adoration of noise. It is by no means one of my favorite live shows, but it is not one that I am going to forget. I have to take notice when a band turns over my expectations, no matter how they do it.