Friday, January 15, 2010

Live: Drunkdriver + Blues Control

When: 1/9/10
Where: Death By Audio

It was a confusing night for me at Death By Audio, seeing bands I thought I knew and discovering they were not who I thought. First up, Blues Control. This duo uses synthesizers and guitar, but more of the former, which is certainly not what I expect from a band on the lo-fi, "shitgaze" label Siltbreeze. The band clearly has talent but their songs, which have no vocals, didn't really hold my attention - Blues Control's skills lie in sound-making and certainly not in composition. Their image was also off - I don't like when bands dress up all fancypants for gigs, but the baseball cap gave me the feeling the band would rather be home eating potato chips or something than playing a show. Maybe I was the only person to have that reaction, but it certainly threw off my enjoyment of the set.

"Jasper" thought the line-up pick didn't make sense, but I understood it to an extent. Blues Control may not be a guitar-based band or a punk band, but they have a similar aggressive artiness. Unfortunately, the band didn't live up to their potential or their reputation, instead meandering aimlessly through their way-too-long set. [myspace]

Now, I also thought I had seen Drunkdriver earlier this year but when they took the stage, I was pretty sure I'd never seen them before in my life. The three members are much younger than I thought and their music much more straightforward hardcore. Frontman ("singer" is not appropriate) Michael Berdan clearly follows in the tradition of great hardcore vocalists like Henry Rollins. Heavily tatooed, he paced the stage like a caged tiger, yelling "FUCK YOU" to hecklers (and some non-hecklers) and stage diving early and often. The audience seemed to know the routine, shouting insults between songs.

(photos from Parts Unknown Records myspace, not from this show)

And while Berdan is definitely the showman of the band, Kristy Greene (guitar) and Jeremy Villalobos (drums) are musicians. Greene's guitar was positively brutal, with sick, weighty riffs that your parents would hate. She and Villalobos locked in tightly, taking cues from noise, math rock, post hardcore and industrial music in their sheer sheet-metal sound and relentless complexity.

I like a band with a vocal melody, so I can't count Drunkdriver as a personal favorite. But they are masters at what they do and put on a classic live show for all your moshing needs. [myspace]

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