This Weeks Reviews on Kevchino.com
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Friday, May 09, 2008
It’s been a long time since things were the way they used to be. Time was some consonant feeling had great import in live music. Dangerous sounding bands would play in warehouses, places with makeshift amenities, likely in the dangerous part of town – or at least somewhere suburban parents thought was fraught with heathen worry. Only the beer flowed into willing glasses with any measure of predictability. All else was a matter of buyer beware.
Seeing a band like New York City’s Blood On The Wall, the context would be dirty floors, vital structures – like bathrooms, ceilings – compromised; the crowd would be rough, collars decidedly blue, if wearing any at all on thrift store t-shirts. And even then, a noticeable percentage would have some sleeve or pant leg torn askance, compromised by the proverbial mud and blood and beer. Blood On The Wall is as frenetic and noise ridden as their name might suggest: let fury beget fury. Right?
On a rare, dry Wednesday night in April, in Portland Oregon (a town not lacking in honest character bars) Blood On The Wall uncorked a 50-minute show, filled with all the lovely vengeance of a left cross to the ear socket. Plugged in on the clean, white stage, the trio cut a rough contrast to the lucid, water lights projected behind them. Brad Shanks, straw blonde, noise weaving guitarist (a la, Thurston Moore) lunged back and forth at his microphone, shrieking with an urgency bereft of self-consciousness. Reining him in with a diligent, no-frills bass, Courtney Shanks couldn’t be more opposite: stoic, eyes to the floor, almost melodic, while drum maven Zack Campbell’s pounding crescendo bonding it all. Their live sound, as it is in album form, is disparate in parts, but cohesive, and filled with enthralling moments of beautiful disharmony.