Thursday, December 17, 2009
MarVell Event Center, Durham
December 5, 2009
Paul Gallant's promo words for Battle Rockets were "come see a skinny guy play 50 guitar pedals" which caught me as both hilarious and scrupulously correct. There are only two things in this world that guitar players really care about and one of them is tone. Once slipped into the instrumental only element Corbie Hill has parsed down to with Battle Rockets he may only care about one of those. One look at the regimen of effects and stomp boxes occupying a bastion at stage end gives rise to how it's done. From stretchy ghost-like refrains through easily provoked and marked-by-fire lead riffs traversing a jagged canvas, the Battle Rockets instrumental arrangements aren't building blocks of song they are the evolution of it. Throughout the performance tones and squelches raised forward triggering primal reaction as they reverberated through the room. Listening to the eloquent versus and arrangements of Corbie's vocally oriented rock band Where the Buffalo Roamed explains that Battle Rockets screams in the tongue of stomp boxes by conviction, not by necessity. As Battle Rockets outtro of distortion soaked feedback flickered to neutral Rob Beloved and Elini Binge joined on stage as Beloved Binge.
At once abruptly jarring and directional and then smoothly grinding and meanderingly melodic, Beloved Binge doesn’t just step around on a scale they play hop-scotch upon it. Their paired speak/shout vocals led story time about all sorts of drama and wrapped angular and dissonant intervals of time and rhythm with imagery creating a spaced out sense of balladry. With satirical jabbiness of The Talking Heads and fascinating tension of the Pixies, Beloved Binge's strange phase vocals and beatnik arrangements shouldn't work together but they do and they do so well that the intrigue has tractor beam effectiveness. Apparently also the type of effectiveness that can run The Marvell Event Center bone dry of PBR. By the time the hosts Scientific Superstar began we were sipping on a mélange of micro brews and wine.
Just under the radar of esoteric comes Junko Berglund, Paul Gallant, Thomas DeVries and the incandescent fervor of electronica and exotica they vortex into Scientific Superstar which is complexedly described as the this-world physical incarnation of a fictional band within a comic series they write and publish (which is also titled Scientific Superstar). Curiously unusual or excitingly strange are choices one is faced with in the witness of Scientific Superstar. Residing just under the edge of the flat earth found in the popular music universe, Scientific Superstar's experimental rock contrasts dimensionally with the homogeneous pop music society while simultaneously challenging their best to a dance-off to the death. Perhaps least in uniform is Paul Gallant's full vertical standing drum kit bearing a macédoine arrangement of toms and found objects (such as a terracotta flower pot). Different for the discriminating indy audience maybe, different for a fictional comic book super hero band? Immeasurable, and its uniqueness is the entertainment. --Carrboro Ninja
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