Lilac Shadows popped up for the first time in quite a while, with a new line-up and a series of three small shows around Halloween, fittingly billed as Lilac Shadows Back from the Dead! I caught the one in Durham, where some of the band have re-located.
Fellowship Hall is an intimate little community space which kind of reminds me of Pensacola's old Mystic Garage. BYOB, cozy (read, curb-rescued) couches, funky painted walls. You'd never know it was there if Lilac's Nathan Price (and DiggUp Tapes impresario) wasn't hanging out at the door. Durham (and the Triangle) need more spaces like this.
Besides the constants of Price and frontman Sam Logan on guitars, Lilac's new line-up includes Reed Benjamin (ex-Jenny Besetzt) on drums, Brian Corum (Lonnie Walker) on bass. They've talked about a change in sound from the more atmospheric material on the EP A Shallow Madness. Well, based on this show, they're still "atmospheric"... a hurricane is part of the atmosphere, right? A more appropriate word would perhaps be "onslaught".
The first song was like New Order devolving back to Joy Division as it progressed. Lilac has been compared to both of those bands in the past, but this new sound was more rhythm-driven. I swear Reed almost broke the drumkit once or twice, and as good as he is fronting Lonnie Walker, Corum seemed to relish his role as sideman, kicking in the bass.
Oh yeah, and they're now noisier. Much, much, noisier. Much. Maybe the small venue intensified the effect, but at times the dual guitars drove so hard you would just get swept up in a tornado of over-stimulation.
So the new Lilac Shadows? Still atmospheric, but feeling the effects of global climate change.