Wolves in the Throne Room / A Storm of Light / Thrones
Club Europa; Greenpoint, NY
Memorial Day weekend started off with a bang this year, as an early egress from work led to a full afternoon of cartoon-watching before dragging myself off the couch to jet over the Pulaski Bridge for a night of ambient black metal. Of course, the Pulaski was drawn to allow for the passage of some bullshit freightliner, arousing fears I would not get to Club Europa in time for opener Thrones, but alas the drawbridge quickly descended and I made it to the venue with time to spare; in fact, I wound up standing in line for quite a while just outside the Greenpoint police precinct, where three canine officers eyed me curiously. Eventually, I was let in by a man wearing a mauve ascot and directed to the end of yet another line until finally I was admitted. For those who checked out of the hardcore and metal scene decades ago, Club Europa has emerged as New York's premier punk, hardcore, and metal venue, holding shows that in a different era might have been held at CBGB's or Coney Island High -- that is, when it's not being used in its intended role as a Polish disco.
This would be my second Friday in a row seeing Thrones. Fresh off the previous Friday's set at No Fun Fest (and a show later in the week with Blues Control), Joe Preston walloped the crowd with his one-man juggernaut. Tying his hair in dual braids like Pocahontas, Preston worked through a set largely similar to his No Fun set. He bookended his romp with tracks off 2000's Sperm Whale, beginning with "Ephraim," a moody dirge that sounds like humpbacks mourning the loss of a fallen leader, and ending with the epic "Obolus," which, when sung through a vocoder, sounds like The Melvins (of whom Preston has been a member) covering Neil Young's Trans. In between those tracks, Preston worked through a few less sprawling and more pummeling grind-influenced tracks, providing a couple head-bangers to please the hair- and tat-heavy crowd.
A Storm of Light was up next and their post metal stylings felt like a watered-down Neurosis (Neurosis Lite). The interlocking and sometimes harmonized male and female vocals, delivered by Josh Graham and Nerissa Campbell, were transcendent at times but painfully off key at others. Although the bassist thrashed around with brutish force, A Storm of Light's sound had less of a tough exterior, coming off like a slightly heavier Slint or a less tongue-in-cheek Swans. The swirling visuals provided some eye candy, but soon enough, I had drifted towards the back bar, where a heavily siliconed Polish waitress poured me a drink.
Wolves in the Throne Room capped the night off with their distinct brand of trance-inducing thrash. As they adorned the stage with their aromatherapy candles, I perused the merch table, pet the small skull, and handled the piece of fool's gold that were laid out there. The band's core, brothers Aaron and Nate Weaver, were flanked by former tour bassist-turned-guitarist Will Lindsey, Ludicra, and Impaled member Ross Sewage, who stood lankily and mustachioed to the side of the stage. Aaron led the group rhythmically through infinite spirals of transcendent darkness and never ending tempo changes, while brother Nate screamed and bellowed away, a beam of blue light emanating from his guitar and through the fog-covered stage.
Working through material mostly from the new Black Cascade album and a few from the previous album Two Hunters, the Wolves' brand of unrelenting, cathartic black metal transformed the crowd's sense of foreboding and pain into a triumphant wail. Musically, their sound borrows most from the earlier waves of BM -- Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone all could be named as musical touchstones, but the group generally shirks BM-purist tendencies, opting for a more organic feel, one informed more by the natural forces of the universe than church-burning and corpse paint. Some audience members banged their heads as others stood humbly in a satanic trance, but few prostrated themselves and wept into the floorboards, which is the band's preferred method of taking in their live shows. In the end, which ever way you choose to take in WITTR's sound, whether physically or spiritually, their bottom line effect is the same: cleansing metal for the blackened soul.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy / Old Calf
Fry Springs Beach Club; Charlottesville, VA
“You’re a good man, Charlie Brown,” quipped the bartender as I left a tip on my tab and headed out of the nearly empty Fry Springs Beach Club. The venue, with its art deco glow and pleasant ’50s musk, had a time capsule vibe, so a vintage Peanuts reference didn’t seem like a very strange way to cap off the night. Will Oldham and his crew were some of the few faces still lingering, as they packed up their gear and loaded it into the van out front.
Earlier, though, Fry Springs had been far from empty. A sold-out crowd filed past the front lounge’s outdated couches and into the venue’s spacious ballroom. Will’s brother Ned, of Anomoanon and Palace Brothers, teamed up with accordionist Matty Metcalfe to kick off the night under the clever moniker Old Calf. The duo boasted expertly crafted tunes as well as sidesplitting t-shirts depicting an elderly bovine walking with a cane.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s ensemble soon took the stage and chugged through a lengthy set, adding momentum with each riff and refrain. Tunes from Oldham’s latest album, Beware (TMT Review), were interspersed throughout, but the evening felt more like a continually blossoming musical moment. As things heated up, Oldham wished aloud for the room’s old disco ball to be turned on and, just as the switch was flipped, the night really hit its peak. The energy was palpable, from those sweating at stage front to those peering from the wings.
For the encore, Ned returned to the stage and joined his brother’s band for a couple more songs. The brothers belted together into the microphone, channeling the unbridled spark and spirit of their familial bond. It was a special moment and a perfect conclusion to the night’s sonic progression. The crowd spilled out into the Virginia night and Oldham and company prepared to descend deeper into the South.
93 Feet East; London, UK
While I should have been at 93 Feet East watching the support bands, I missed the opening acts because I was at an Indian restaurant eating Lamb Vindaloo. It was delicious, but probably not the most ideal pre-show bite given Telepathe's propensity for massively heavy bass. Sure, Dance Mother, their meticulously produced debut full-length, is big on the low-end as much as the high melodies and percussion, but live... good grief, I was certainly feeling the lamb in my tummy.
Telepathe's skewing of hip-hop sounds lets the bass propel their pop/dance ballads like a heartbeat, and although the sheen of Dance Mother was slightly lost in a live setting, the group's semi-detached fervor was in full force, with beats plodding and vocals soaring just slightly above. Their sound exudes a particularly sensual feeling, taking dance music's overt sexuality (that often ends up either cringe-worthy or kitschy) and subverting it, enjoying the small emotive flights and club aesthetics as much as the pop romanticism.
I was never sure how ‘danceable’ their stuff was, though, and this full-to-the-brim venue didn't make that any clearer: you could barely move, let alone flail. But the performance did shed light on their paradoxic bedroom vs. club dichotomy; it's a bit of both, deftly combining respective feelings for something warm and in between. Working on a couple of synths and samplers and playing pretty much all the songs from the album, there was always a distinct and audible passion. And even if, like these two, it's stylized, dressed up in white, and surrounded by smoke, the music resonated and felt especially real.
Music Hall of Williamsburg; Brooklyn, NY
When it was announced that Mastodon would play the Music Hall of Williamsburg, one thing came to mind: this show would sell out fast. MHW seemed way too small to house an act as popular as the ’Don. Well, my initial fears turned out to be correct, as I sat online for about four hours, constantly refreshing Ticketmaster’s web page to try to purchase tickets, only to be blocked out each time until the damning words "Sold Out" finally appeared. Needless to say, I was crushed, as the Atlanta metal group was at the top of my live wishlist for some time. A month of deep sadness and despondence set in, but it was finally the good folks at Warner Bros. who hooked me up with a ticket to the show and, subsequently, a ticket to my salvation.
The show fell on Mother’s Day, and as I spent the obligatory time with the family out on Long Island, I kept thinking about how I would finally get to see my favorite metal band, in all their fleshy glory. As I helped pick up the dishes from lunch, I couldn’t help but thrust one foot upon the dishwasher, strapping on my air guitar and gesticulating wildly a medley of Crack the Skye tunes, even going so far as to croon the words of album closer "The Last Baron" to my mother. "I guess they would say, we could set this world ablaze" I sang whilst inviting her to jump into the wormhole with me, only to be met with a confused and semi-saddened “What did I do wrong that my son wound up like this” look on her face.
I arrived back from the Island too late to catch openers Intronaut and Kylesa, though word was that the double drum stoner stylings of Kylesa were something to behold. I walked into the antechamber of MHW as Kylesa played their last note and decided to check out the mightily stocked merch table. On the table was a tip jar that invited all to drop any “Tips or Drugs or Tips for Drugs.” I perused the t-shirt collection, and my eyes fell on one particularly appealing design: a crackled prog-looking design that you would think was an authentic shirt from Rush’s 1974 tour if it didn’t say Mastodon. In addition to the shirt, I procured a handsome tour poster depicting a group of extraterrestrial mind’s eye psychonauts wading in a sea of consciousness. A quick depletion of my wallet later, I stuffed the shirt in my pocket, rolled up the poster, and headed inside.
The room inside was definitely packed, not oversold though, and the steady stream of A/C pumped into the Hall made things crisp and cozy. I ambled onto the elevated platform to the left of the stage, staked out a safe spot with a good view, and planted my feet firmly. Mastodon soon took the stage and immediately belted out the first transcendent notes of Crack the Skye’s lead track "Oblivion." They proceeded to play the entirety of Crack the Skye from start to finish, without missing a note. Enlisting the help of a keyboard player, tracks like "Quintessence" broke the terrestrial boundaries that once held Mastodon in check. The synths bubbled and churned as superimposed videos of exploding nebulae and drifting stargates meshed with stern faces and martial scenarios from filmed depictions of Tsarist Russia.
After the 13-minute epic "The Last Baron" closed out their first set, the band left the stage, leaving the keyboardist alone to provide some otherworldly sonic soundscapes to match the trippy animation sequence on the video screen. Within minutes, the group was back on stage and the keyboard player had left. With a booming note, the video screen changed to the tri-headed forest beast from Blood Mountain, and they raged into
"Bladecatcher," as Brent Hinds whistled and shredded his Flying V through the track.
They played four more songs off Blood Mountain, which provided a stark contrast to the songs off Crack the Skye, since the latter album primarily features bassist Troy Sanders on vocals rather than Brent Hinds. Ripping through "Colony of Birchmen," "The Wolf is Loose," "Crystal Skull," and "Capillarian Crest," the group hardly missed a beat, and as they went further into their back catalog, the songs became increasingly intense along with the crowd. The animation switched once again to a gigantic ocean sea with an enormous white whale cresting the top of the water. They played "Seabeast," "Megalodon," and "Iron Tusk," all from 2004’s Leviathan, which drove the crowd into a mosh-heavy frenzy. Finally, they closed out their set with one of the breakout tracks from 2002’s Remission, "March of the Fire Ants." Its pummeling lead riff capped a near-perfect performance, as the group raised their guitars in triumph and exited the stage.
Mastodon had played an hour and a half of pure metal mayhem, shredding solos, and intricate interplay. The performance confirmed Mastodon as true workhorses who don’t skimp on the live energy, giving their fans every penny’s worth.
Glenn Branca: Lesson No. 3 (A Tribute to Steve Reich)
Issue Project Room; Brooklyn NY
So, Glenn Branca is debuting a piece in what used to be a Brooklyn can factory -- an old brick building complete with cool metal clad doors that are like two-feet thick. The temptation is to see this as an opportunity to catch a latter-day glimpse of New York's past life as the home of dirty art rock. But as it turns out, the Issue Project Room is as equally clean as it is cavernous, and the appearance of the audience, seated in metal folding chairs, conjured fears that established society has finally reached its creepy tentacles into the sacred halls of punk rock.
Luckily, Branca, perhaps sensing this fear himself, imposed his will on whatever stuffiness lingered in the air by prefacing his piece with a personal "fuck you" to the Village Voice, on account of them having the balls to accuse his Lesson No. 3 as nothing more than a suck-up move in the direction of Steve Reich (to whom the piece is dedicated).
And a "fuck you" well aimed it was, as Lesson No. 3 is anything but empty Reich worship. The first few minutes of the performance were, above all, funky. Not almost funky: there was an actual groove in there. And just in case anyone was resisting a groove, Branca, while conducting the four guitarists and drummer making up the ensemble, added visual verification, suggestively wagging his knees the way you do only when you're conducting music that's actually funky.
Once established, though, the groove was systematically abandoned over the course of the rest of the piece. Change came on relatively slowly, as the guitarist's interlocking figures opened up, moving from distinct rhythmic elements, through the gradual addition of harmonics, and into a collective roar that managed to be equal parts rhythm and drone. When the figures dissolved into tremolo, it was hardly noticeable. While it's primarily an entertaining listen, the piece would also function pretty well as a sonic diagram of entropic decay.
At least if you discount the drum work. Paranoid Critical Revolution's Libby Fab somehow had enough left in the tank after her band's set -- which, at its best, brought to mind lightning bolts and Lightning Bolt -- to maintain a tight, heavy backbeat, leading the slight acceleration and dynamic build that occurs throughout the piece.
Let's not turn this into a formal analysis though. Lesson No. 3 is a pretty weighty title for a piece from which pleasure largely involves the feelings of being gradually enveloped in sound and losing yourself in the overtones and rhythm. There's enough meaty intellectual content in Lesson No. 3 to encourage study, but the real lesson here has more to do with the body than the mind.
WFUV's "The Alternative Side" Launch Party with Pela and The Postelles
The Mercury Lounge; New York, NY
What could have been an otherwise tame Monday was suddenly transformed into a Monday That Rocked by my pal Jeff, a DJ at the legendary indie New York City radio station WFUV. An invitation to a party celebrating the launch of WFUV's new internet radio station The Alternate Side, featuring the Postelles and Pela? Don't mind if I do! Bonus points for said party being held at The Mercury Lounge, one of Manhattans' best music venues ever.
Since I am starting to border on being what NYU students would refer to as an Old, I was rather pleased to attend an early show featuring only two bands. New York's The Postelles opened the show with their wholly earnest take on indie boy doo-wop, imploring the crowd to nod along contentedly. How could anyone take issue with a group whose lead singer looks like Shia LaBeouf? I'm a glutton for punishment, so the ear-friendly, sweet stylings of The Postelles do not win my heart, but I wouldn't argue if they were to be nominated some sort of Adorableness Award. The Postelles just finished working on a single with Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr., entitled “123 Stop.”
Pela are everything I like about pop-punk. That is not to say, however, that they fall into this category, because they are a bit more complex. It's a simple fact that certain bands don't represent themselves as well on record, and until tonight, I'd only been moderately interested in Pela's music. After a 45-minute set, I was converted to official Pela fandom. Pop-punk enters my mind, because while Pela possess many live tics of the genre, such as incessant, infectious grinning by lead singer Billy McCarthy and picture-perfect synchronized group jumping, they also possess such raw substance that they could never be mistaken as such. While The Wrens certainly show no shortage of energy on stage, Pela remind me of a slightly younger version of that band, complete with soaring harmonies and deceptively simple guitar licks that creep up on you with their brilliance. McCarthy smiled at us and says, “I'm feeling crazy rock ‘n’ roll tonight... that feeling came to me as I was sleeping in the van on the Lower East Side. Shine on, you crazy diamonds,” gesturing to the band.
Pela mainly stuck to material from their 2007 full-length, Anytown Graffiti, leading off with its first three tracks, “Waiting on the Stairs,” “Lost to the Lonesome,” and “Drop Me Off,” but we were suddenly treated to the title track of their elusive upcoming album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships, along with another new track, “The Chapel Song.” My personal favorite was the mourning, sparkling “Strange Days,” also from the new album. The set felt cut short, as Pela had to finish in time for The Mercury Lounge to have its late show, but a rollicking cover of The Clash's “Guns of Brixton” dulled the shock with a satisfying snarl. My companion, Pela show veteran Juliet, informed me that “Guns of Brixton” is often interchanged with The Pixies' “Nimrod's Son” or “Holiday Song” as a closer. Sounds like a win/win to me.
Pela recently split from their record label, Great Society, and are currently shopping around for someone to release Rise Ye Sunken Ships, naming July as a possible release date. Until then, those of you in Europe can probably catch them on tour with The Gaslight Anthem. Grump. Someone find these dudes a label already!
Cake Shop; New York, NY
This time next month, Angel Deradoorian will be a rock star. Dirty Projectors, for which she plays bass and sings, is set to release an album June 9 that will surely be their breakthrough. And I know you've heard about their collaborations with the likes of David Byrne and Björk. Well, okay -- maybe Bitte Orca (Domino) won't make Dirty Projectors the next Radiohead. But the band is certainly bound for Animal Collective- and Arcade Fire-like levels of popularity.
All of which is to say that in a few months we may not still be able to see Deradoorian play to a hundred or so friends and admirers packed into a basement venue like Cake Shop. The event was a record release party for her new EP, Mind Raft (Lovepump United), which had just hit stores that morning. Her Dirty Projectors comrades clustered supportively at the front of the stage; the band's singer/songwriter Dave Longstreth grinned through the entire set like a proud papa. And, as it turned out, Deradoorian's backing band was a real family affair: Her brother Aram played the drums, and two dear friends covered bass and keyboards.
Deradoorian's music isn't terribly similar to Dirty Projectors. In place of the bright, symphonic sounds that band makes, we get moody, layered, sometimes claustrophobic tracks that fall somewhere between PJ Harvey's Nick Cave period and Antony and The Johnsons. Although Deradoorian seemed nervous as all get-out between songs, she never let it interfere with her performance. Her powerful singing, on tracks such as "You Carry the Deed" and "High Road," was especially impressive in an underground cave with notoriously poor acoustics. The set topped out at about 25 minutes, as Deradoorian made it through the entire EP and (I think) one additional song before running out of material. But that was sufficient time to impress this reviewer, to say nothing of the rest of her wrapt audience.
The Skaters Solo / P.A.R.A.
Modern Tower; Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Mordern Tower is a cosmic, low-key music and poetry venue set into a super old Roman-era stone wall, now out the back of Newcastle's Chinatown. Naturally, these three expert noise adventurers -- P.A.R.A. (a.k.a. Labanna Bly) joined James Ferraro and Spencer Clark, who were playing solo sets rather than as their usual duo Skaters -- made the place even more magical.
Once the sun had gone down, P.A.R.A. changed from double denim to ephemeral gowns (and wig) and filled a table with a buttload of weird New Age jewels, bowls, incense, a MacBook covered in fur, keyboards, and one amazing Gridiron or motorcross helmet pimped out in feathers and fur -- all with pickups attached. Tapping the bowls, for instance, caused a strange resonance, exemplifying pristinely the paradox between the organic and the digital that seems at the heart of her dreamed-out noise wanderings.
Tonight, Spencer Clark, one half of Skaters, played as Monopoly Child Star Searchers. He sat at the desk, now sans those mystic adornments and replaced with a couple of small keyboards (one only had like five keys left!) and some pedals. There seemed to be a slight malfunction with the PA during his set, causing an intermittent and weirdly percussive clicking sound that only built on the skattered rhythms that eventually wiggled out of his blunted tropical noise. It was real head-nodding material, and paired with massively psychedelic imagery via layers of squiggle, it was absorbing and salubrious.
Skaters' James Ferraro ended the show as Genie Embryo Garden, sitting around his keyboards and pedals. It's always struck me as amazing that his myriad CD-Rs and tapes of liquidy textures are all created from scratch, aside from the odd Beavis and Butthead sample. For noise so obsessed with pop culture, it's incredible how otherworldly and just plain bizarre these ’scapes are, channeling tack culture and and cereal boxes as much as intergalactic feelings and astral vibrations. His set focused on a twinkly and busy ambience that had a constant scruffy grandeur, shimmering in a similar way to those dozens of recordings. His particular sort of mystery was still all over his improvised set; even seeing him embark on those insular processes right in front of us, it was, fittingly enough, still unclear how exactly it was happening.
Mogwai / The Twilight Sad
Phoenix Concert Theatre; Toronto, ON
I enjoy attending shows filled with guys that don’t get out much. Collapsing under the weight of late modern ennui, student loans, vitamin D deficiency and unfulfilled dreams, they are teeming with repressed emotions waiting to be unlocked by one killer riff.
Unfortunately for The Twilight Sad, too few of these concert-goers ventured out early enough to catch the opening set of Monday night’s Scottish double bill at the Phoenix. The Twilight Sad’s pop-masking cloak of noise -- built on 16th notes of overdriven and reverb-drenched guitar and bass -- seemed light and thin as the night’s festivities began. The fullness of the sound was lost in the ether of the vapid spaces of a slowly filling theater. In a smaller venue, I could see their sound engulfing you then deviously sliding a cool shiv deep between your shoulder blades when you least expect it -- but not at the Phoenix.
Their set was good; just not mind-blowing. Vocalist James Graham was evocative,and presented his lyrics with earnest sincerity that from a weaker front man would have appeared melodramatic and contrived. His Scottish brood with forever-rolling Rs acted as a perfect accent to lyrical imagery of the loss, yearning, and confusion of adolescence.
For all the guitar bursts, rumbling bass lines, and vernacular vocals, the one element of The Twilight Sad’s set that stood out was the drumming of Mark Devine. His tom-heavy stoicism and subtle flourishes added progression and movement to songs that otherwise may be lost in repetition.
The band played 45 minutes of material from their two EPs and debut LP Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters. Standouts included “Cold Days From the Birdhouse,” which opened with two minutes of shimmering chime samples under Graham crooning “..and so you make it your own/ But this is where your arm can’t go”, “That Summer at Home I Became the Invisible Boy,” and closing track “I am Taking the Train Home,” which ended with a wave of noise passing by a statuesque Graham staring blankly into the crowd: transfixed, silent, and motionless.
The Twilight Sad’s set may not have been consciousness-shaking, but it showcased the draw of earnest and simple pop songs floating in a cloud of dissonance.
Having canceled the Toronto stop of their fall 2008 tour due to complications with drummer Martin Bulloch’s pacemaker, Mogwai reentered the city to an eagerly anticipatory crowd whose enthusiasm was as large as its numbers. Opening to the creeping piano melody of “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead,” Mogwai laid the terrain for which the rest of the night’s set would be built. In traditional Mogwai fashion, the crowd was consistently lulled into dreamy dazes through tension-building light melodies, only to be trashingly awoken into a universe of chaotic and consecrated crescendos.
Mogwai played a diverse set of new and old songs spanning their decade-long career. Reaching into the back catalog for “Mogwai Fears Satan” and “Cody,” breaking the instrumental mold with vocoder-sung “Killing All the Flies” and “Auto Rock” and stopping out rocker “Glasgow Mega Snake,” the now full venue went ecstatic. Cathartic outbursts flooded the club as the unleashed emotions of no-longer-youthful crowd poured into the air in tandem with the fluttering tense melody and orgasms of sonic discharge streaming from the stage.
The transparency of Mogwai’s song structures became apparent as the show progressed. You could anticipate with near pin-point accuracy when the guitars would kick in and inevitably fade away. However, their slowly building explosions weren’t meant to be experienced as surprise, but rather as a jubilant release of the tension that their melodic sections create.
With guitar techs rushing to the stage as the band finished their set, an encore seemed inevitable; yet, the capacity crowd didn’t rest on their laurels. They demanded more, and as requested the Glaswegians post-rockers returned to the stage to a triumphant roar, bursting into the epic “My Father My King” to end the night.
As the venue cleared and the newly rejuvenated crowd returned to their mid-rise apartments in anticipation of tomorrow’s commute, I was reminded of the non-ironic love people hold for a good guitar rock song.
I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
Killing All the Flies
Travel is Dangerous
Small Children in the Background
You Don't Know Jesus
Thank You Space Expert
Hunted by a Freak
Mogwai Fears Satan
Glasgow Mega Snake
My Father My King
Tractor Tavern; Seattle, WA
With the digital reissues of Bloomed, The Hill, and Impasse to promote, Richard Buckner has taken his one-man act back onto the dusty roads he has continually sung about since his 1994 debut. Fans would be quick to tongue lash those who neglect the chance opportunity to catch Buckner in a live setting, as each of his songs take on a sinister shadow -- more mangled and heartbroken than the recorded origins from which they were birthed.
This particular Saturday evening, before the sun had even set on the sleepy Seattle hamlet of Ballard, Buckner quietly took the stage amidst dim lights, a hushed crowd, and a smattering of guitars — at least five that I could count from my vantage point. Without a word, Buckner launched into his non-stop set, mimicking the momentous roll captured in his one-track catch-all The Hill. Not once did Buckner take a breather as he weaved throughout his lengthy canon. The crowd was too frozen and fixed to dare make a sound, as Buckner ran through such favorites as “Tom Merritt,” “A Chance Carousel,” and “Lucky Buzz,” each sprinkled in between re-imagined instrumentals from The Hill. The only real peep heard from the crowd was the smattering of applause before Buckner launched into “Slept” and the amazement at his effortless shifting of guitars with the aid of pedal loops, slides, and an EBow.
What's particularly astonishing is how evidently alt-country Buckner’s crowd continues to be, despite his live performances bordering more on experimentation than any of his recorded output would allude. While the melodies and birthmarks that pox Buckner’s signature songs remain intact, he doesn’t shy away from drawing out something new from those old chestnuts. Often, Buckner was caught bending and stretching notes until their near breaking point, transforming complacent guitar plucking into Thurston Moore bastards. Whether he was in a sour mood that he poured into his setlist or just a man looking to liven up the old, it didn’t matter. Richard Buckner proved once more that despite being pigeonholed as an alt-country/alt-folk leftover, he’s more on par with the current crop of psych-folkies with his twisted interpretations of an old but fruitful style.