quiet Loudly / GunFight! / Weird Owl
Vanishing Point; Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn's Vanishing Point: A largely unrefurbished warehouse with lasers, trigger-happy smoke machines, two bathrooms, electricity, eight chairs, and a stage. The crowd, wading its way through its twenties, was best summarized by a fellow concert-goer: “Where did all these people get $8?” Still, I could be falling in love (with the space, not the guy who made that comment).

I may have given Weird Owl too much advance credit for having the best band name I’ve heard in a long time. Luckily, their performance still managed to exceed my high-yet-largely-baseless expectations. Their loud, spaced-out, stoner-rock sound is beautifully entrancing, and the band members look the part. The front man, sporting a solid beard and three-foot, pencil-straight hair, spoke up after a few songs.

“We have several more songs of a psychedelic nature,” he grinned, “emphasis on ‘nature.’” Staring at the space between the floor and their eyes, the band appeared lost in the music for the next three songs. Finally, the front man emerged and spoke again. “How much time left?” he asked, apparently unaware that they had already surpassed their timeslot. “That’s a trick question. Time is abstract.” At this exact moment, the booker lost a patch of hair to stress, but at least 12 audience members realized during the ensuing song that they had always known that they were special, so it is safe to assume that all is forgiven.

GunFight! exploded onto the stage with their welcome brand of heavy country metal. Although they are perhaps the shortest band around, (the drummer, rather tall, politely chooses to sit down during performances), these four make such a big sound that you can see the soundwaves traveling through the air. With guitars that sound like electric saws, drums like a firing squad, and a the warm screech of Drew Mintz’s howling vocals, these particular waves were enough to make a noise-rock audience dance without irony. These guys have about 10 solid years of entertainment in them before they start carrying bindles full of baked beans and riding the rails.

quiet Loudly are a spectral noise-rock group whose name actually describes their music rather accurately. Their three-man lineup recently settled to permanently include bassist Tony Aquilino (also of Gunfight), and their camaraderie shows. Soaring through the entirety of their upcoming album (minus the horns and organ included in the studio mix), quiet Loudly's performance was tighter than ever. Consistently impressive is the band’s ability to cut loose onstage, to “rock out,” as it were, without devolving into chaos, to play with noise without sounding too “noisy” (you know, the way an old person in a movie would mean it). In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I recently shot press photos for this band, and perhaps also that they all received haircuts during the photo shoot. And this new album is like a haircut for the band: it seems strangely different at first, is ultimately more revealing than it is diverting, and leaves your ears itching for days.

[Photo: Nat Towsen]

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