January 29th we marched on up to Boston to see The McLovins play at Café 939 opening for …soihadto…, a band fronted by Duff Goldman from Food Network’s ACE OF CAKES. My only exposure to the band had been through the songs they had up on their myspace page and I was pleasantly surprised by their live performance. Following the soundcheck I struck up a conversation with their drummer, (Honus?) and liked his low-key demeanor, after all, playing in a band with such a well known figure as Goldman has to be hard. The band does a nice of separating the music from the man, so it’s not an example of stunt-casting, their music is more than able to stand on its own so the connection to the Food Network show is ancillary.
The band took the stage and thanked the openers The McLovins, and started to plow through their set. The rhythm section is definitely post-punk, the drumming falling somewhere around early Joy Division / Buzzcocks era and with thick, ropy bass lines bordering on leads. The band is loud, Rahn and Yungwirth lead a 2 guitar attack that never overwhelms, and a lack of lead vocals surprisingly adds to the mélange of sound the band creates. As a part of this sensory assault, they have a Koyaanisqatsi -ish visual running on a screen in back of the band which is a real compliment to their audio punch. I really can’t put my finger on it, but the combination of images of Ganges river funerals, Mecca pilgrimages, chicken farms and Ghost in The Shell anime combined with the bands powerful sound gave me an almost apprehensive edge. The music pushes the visuals forward and it helps to develop a palpable emotional tenor.
Their songs are distinctive, they use a very layered approach to songcraft, also nice use of effects pedals but again, in a very textural way. Their sound is reminiscent of A Perfect Circle but less pretentious, they do remind me of the band Iceburn from their Hephaestus period. “Searching For a Cure” and “The Plumber and The Peacock” in particular were standouts. “Something About The Way We Parted” was just stunning, heavy and loping, almost predatory. They band played tight, everyone on the same page with a couple hiccups but that’s the joy of live music, I also have to give them props for the using a Theremin, adding a spacy vibe. I’m really excited to see what a couple months on the road will do for them, they have a very exciting sound and look to be just getting started.