This is what the sky looked like as I headed out to the show. I consider it part of the evening's entertainment, and I think it sets the scene nicely.
It has been awhile since I last saw a show at the Bottom of the Hill, and I was happy to get a chance to return. Getting there early due to surprisingly light traffic, I parked around the corner and ascended the hill to get a steaming cup of coffee at Farley’s and then, finding that I still had some time before doors opened, across the street to browse at the bookstore on the corner. Fifty dollars later, I emerged, stopping at my car to throw my purchases in the trunk before heading around the corner to the venue. There was a short wait for the doors to open, and during this time I noticed that there was a new sign in the window, stating that car break-ins were “rampant”, so leaving things in plain view inside cars was ill-advised. Seeing this, I did a quick mental inventory. The only thing in plain view in my car was a squeeze bottle of expired sunblock. I figured that wasn’t much of an enticement.
Once inside, there was a short wait for the musical portion of the evening to commence. The merch table was stocked with various shirts, but other than a Worm Ouroboros shirt, I bought nothing (mostly due to the fact that I’d overdone it at the bookstore).
Worm Ouroboros played a three song set, with two of the songs being from their forthcoming album. As usual, the lights were a dim red and the stage was festooned with delicate strings of mood lighting, as if we were celebrating some melancholy holiday. Bassist Lorraine Rath and Guitarist Jessica Way (who I’d recently seen do a solo set) provided haunting vocals over a delicate set of ethereal gloom. In the background, drummer Aesop Dekker provided a funereal underpinning. That is, except for the last song, where the drums boiled over into a tribal, double-bass urgency, swelling and cresting like a tidal wave looming above the skyline. This makes me salivate for the upcoming album.
I’m ecstatic that we have local bands of this caliber. It’s one of the reasons why I would have a hard time moving out of the area.
Creepers were new to me, and truth be told, seemed not to fit very well on this particular bill, sandwiched as they were between a pair of formidable doom bands. They played what I would describe as melodic indie rock, with occasional nods to metal. They played with conviction and seemed to be enjoying themselves, and they got a good audience response, but they really didn’t move me. A little research reveals that the band includes a couple of Deafheaven members. It doesn't reveal an official website though, so no link.
This evening marked the fourth time I’d seen Pallbearer, and every time I see them they get better. Their set started with the heavy, melodic grooviness of Worlds Apart, from their second album, “Foundations of Burden”, and continued from strength to strength. We were also treated to Foreigner and The Ghost I Used to Be, from the first and second albums, respectively.
Awhile back, the Pallbearer song, Fear and Fury, appeared on a flexi disc as part of Decibel magazine’s ongoing series. The song is now the title track of Pallbearer’s new 12”, which features cover versions of Black Sabbath’s Over and Over and Type O Negative’s Love You To Death on the B side. They played it for us, along with another new song whose title escapes me. Both were good, although neither were surprising. In other words, there has been no great leap forward as far as their songwriting approach is concerned. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, of course.
Onstage, the band was quite animated, with bassist Joseph Rowland often whipping his head back and forth so rapidly that I’m surprised it didn’t end up somewhere on the floor in front of the stage. Guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell gets better and better with each successive time I’ve seen the band. Crowd response was loudly positive, but I don’t think the show ended up selling out. I’ve seen the venue much more packed than it was this particular evening.
Like Worm Ouroboros, Pallbearer didn’t play a lot of songs, but that’s because both bands share a penchant for lengthy compositions. Fortunately both bands are good enough that ten minute songs seem to pass by in half the time, and both leave me wanting more.
I was happy with what we got though.
Back at my car, I discovered that one doesn’t necessarily have to leave enticements in plain view. During my absence, my rear driver’s side window had transformed into a pile of safety glass covering the back seat, and the back seat had been pulled forward so my trunk could be accessed. Strangely, nothing was actually stolen. Thinking back to why I might have been singled out for this dubious honor, I concluded that somebody had been watching me as I put my books in my trunk. From a distance, a book might resemble a laptop or an iPad. Imagine their disappointment when they realized their mistake. Take that, fuckers.
That said, next time I’m not going to take the chance of putting anything in my trunk. Lesson learned. I now have to tack on $294.00 to the price of admission for this particular evening of entertainment. On the bright side, window glass replacement people make house calls these days, so I didn’t have to sit in a waiting room while it was fixed.
This might make me more reluctant to go to shows at the Bottom of the Hill though.