Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Show Review: I Was Totally Destroying It

Duke Coffee House, Durham
December 1, 2008

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If I Was Totally Destroying It ever had a jam session sizing up one another's abilities and searching for a sign for why they should make music together, the uncommon balance of drive and control found in the vocal harmonies of John Booker and Rachel Hirsh on the super contagious "Hey Alright" had to be the sound they heard and aspired to evolve. The separation between wall-of-sound versus listenable loud garage rock is found in the dynamics of a band playing full-tilt together as opposed to going ape for forty-five minutes in their own corner of the stage. The unique register of John and Rachel's blended vocals, the throaty growl of a matched pair of American Telecasters playing as a single instrument, and the surge of a complimenting and cohesive synth, bass, and drums are the dynamics that I found highly listenable from this loud garage rock band at Duke Coffee House last night.

iwtdi at Duke Coffee House 12-1-08

As I can readily demonstrate should an unsuspecting relative or neighbor mistakenly wander into my music room and say, "hey, let me hear you play something," anyone can plug an electric guitar into a tube amp and blow somebody's head off. The difference between "anyone" playing a guitar and an artist using the instrument to create a desired tone is in the nuances of how the guitar, pedals, and amps are set up and dialed in. One glance at the pedal board that feeds John Booker's amp tells a story of a man eating, sleeping, and living guitar tone.

pedal power

The warm buzzing brown sound of John's tele last night was material witness that the obsession has not been for not. Add an elaborate melding with the draconic ripping of Curtis Armstead's Orange fed tele and there is further proof that with these two, there is more than meets the eye. Far from the traditional rhythm guitar/lead guitar approach, Curtis and John are both all over the neck, all the time. Seemingly one starts a riff and the other finishes it. Watching the full set I don't believe I witnessed a single traditional chord being strummed the entire night, but rather two guitars making tone bigger than either could alone.

"Hat's off to I Destroyed It," said Jordan Jeffares of Atlanta indy phenom Snowden who as he said it, knew that he was "totally destroying" the name of their local based opener. Smirks grew around the room but fortunately no beer cans were released at the stage. He may have missed the name but the gesture was genuine, IWTDI opened a small Monday show on a cold night and brought the heat. With the subtleties of their louds and softs that mold a unique brand of garage rock, it isn't a stretch of the imagination to visualize IWTDI on a much larger stage outside on a warm summer evening soon.

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1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I saw them open for Coner Oberst at Cat's Cradle. I don't think Coner was into it haha.