Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lilac Shadows - Back from the Dead (Fellowship Hall, Durham, 11/1/13)

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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wool EP release, w/ See Gulls & T0W3RS (Kings, Raleigh, 10/25/13)

Wool celebrated the release of their debut EP at Kings recently, with T0W3RS & See Gulls opening.  Three great bands; a few words and pictures below...

T0W3RS is Derek Torres solo for now, and it's a different kind of trip.  Last time I wrote about T0W3RS, I mentioned they were moving towards a more electronic province, which I liked, but also wondered if they would lose the twangy I also liked.  But really, Derek just has an edge that's driven by the energy he displays on stage, not his guitar.  Oh yeah, and great songwriting.  In this format, just him alone up there, some keys and other toys, this energy really comes out even more.  Seldom have I seen a solo act come off as so rock'n'roll.
Then See Gulls played what was maybe their third show?  You wouldn't know it.  Their 50s clean pop-90s fuzz pop-sorta meld is really fun.  And bittersweet.  And sometimes a little biting.  Like on the song By Now. Ca-CAW!
Raleigh's Wool took the stage amid the crunchy melodies of the first cut, Mountains, from their EP, Delta.  Their sound also harkens back to the 90s. I'm thinking Blake Babies, Built to Spill, or even my old buddies from Baton Rouge, Becky Sharp (not to intentionally alliterate or anything... is that even a verb?).  Anyway, Blake Babies for the guitar more than anything (or guitarist John Strohm's own band, Antenna).  I think I saw Wool early on, maybe at Local Beer Local Band?, and thought they were okay but had a lot to work out.  Maybe it was the larger venue of Kings, which I think it really suited their sound, but they are most definitely getting wherever it is they're going.  Check out the excellent EP Delta here.