Posted in metal | music | pictures on October 19, 2008

photos by Damien Neva, words by Black Bubblegum

Sunn O)))

Wednesday (10/15) was my first experience with sunn o))) in their original incarnation, and in all honesty, I expected to enjoy it alot less than I did. The band is known to travel with an armada of heavy music overlords (including Joe Preston, Attila Csihar, Julian Cope, Justin Broadrick, Malefic, among many others) and so for me, the announcement of the Shoshin GrimmRobe Tour was a combination of disappointment and piqued interest. Would the band be able to engage the crowd in much the same manner without Moogs, maniacal screams, or odd texture? The answer is yes.

Thou started the evening off with a bang, exceeding my expectations even though I have been a staunch supporter of both their recent To Carry A Stone 7" and their recent Peasant LP. Vocalist Bryan Funck's wide-eyed psychopath paced across the stage, microphone cord wound tightly around his neck. The band was water tight with a much larger sound than their records would have you believe. Look for them next time they come through NYC.

Next up was experimentalist Tony Conrad, who hit the stage with a (VERY) modified violin, pedals galore and lots of droning looped violin chords. Very interesting stuff, and a stark contrast to the venomous antagonism of Thou.

The core lineup of sunn o))), Stephen O'Malley & Greg Anderson, hit the amp-crowded stage around 11:30, clad in their usual monk-robes. In between gulps of red wine, the duo dropped thunderiff after thunderiff (© BrooklynVegan -JOKING-) to the vibrating (with excitement and volume) crowd. There was little respite from their onslaught, save for a few moments when their raised their axes to the sky in praise of the heaviness. As usual, the band played through a dense thicket of fog (a sunn o))) trademark), and was aided by well executed lighting that, on a few occasions, made me throw up the patented black metal invisible orange in salute.

Much has been said about sunn o))) and their commitment to volume (their credo is "maximum volume yields maximum results"), and the band obliged by shaking the Knitting Factory from start to finish. Call me clairvoyant, but I am pretty sure I know the question a lot of you readers have.... "but were they louder than My Bloody Valentine"? The answer to that is no and maybe. No, I say because the Knitting Factory wasn't packing the PA firepower that Kutscher's [or Roseland] did. Maybe, because it is impossible to compare the low-end rumble of sunn o))) to the high-frequency screech My Bloody Valentine. Apples & oranges, as they say.

All in all, fantastic. Hail the darkness! I just wish they would have played on fucking Halloween.

More pictures below...

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Comments (20)

i saw sunn o at tonic a few years back with sunburned hand of the man...they were horribly boring.

Posted by Anonymous | October 19, 2008 10:45 PM

you don't get it, man

Posted by Anonymous | October 19, 2008 11:22 PM

"experimentalist tony conrad"

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 12:57 AM

conrad was good.

sunn o)) was AWFUL

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 8:13 AM

Anyone who refers to the band as "sunn o" probably has no idea what they are talking about

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 8:46 AM

how about someone posting the setlist

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 8:47 AM

Sunn O))) was Fantastic, Thou did impress me as well. Conrad was just wanking off a violin which was neither interesting nor creative (Even on the most minimalist level)

People who would say he was good, are the same who said Growing was better than Boris when they opened for them. What a joke

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 8:52 AM

"sunn o" setlist:

brrrrooooooooooongggggghhhhhhhhhhh ->

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 9:14 AM

"clad in their usual monk-robes"

Hey Beavis, are those monk-robes cool?

Posted by Butthead | October 20, 2008 9:53 AM

If they were so boring to you why did you go, you morons? If you actually did some research you would have realized SunnO))) performed one their first albums "Grimm Robes Demos" for it's 10th anniversary. It was predictable performance but an excellent one, nonetheless.

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 10:02 AM

Yeah hahaha "Sunn O))) is boring" what a laugh... I mean anyone that went to that show and thought they were boring (which I dont agree with but is a legit opinion), really should have realized that before hand and not gone...

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 12:23 PM

the grimm sound of wall street doom:
there's no better way to capture the feeling of current financial market meltdown than the experience of the sunn o))) grimmrobe tour at the knitting factory in nyc last night.

Tony Conrad:
having missed thou’s opener, I arrived in time for tony Conrad to begin. half way through tony's layered solo amplified violin performance, tony spoke into the microphone about how close the knitting factory is located in lower manhattan to wall street. Then, in a very creepy-cynical tone, tony repeated the phrase, 'they (wall street) like playing with other people's money", and the crowd started laughing and cheering. Later in the set, tony used the words “crying”, “doom” over extremely stretched elastic noise the violin bow created by rubbing the amplified strings-felt as if my head was being covered in a cling plastic food wrap. If tony Conrad’s opening was a verbal remark about the state of our economy, sunn o))) let their equipment and bodily actions do the talking.

pre game:
going into last nights concert was exciting yet nervous for me. my first and last sunn o))) concert was at the 2007 sonar music festival in Barcelona, spain with vocalist attila csihar-that experience was so groundbreaking-I felt my expectation going into last nights performance had gotten too high, and I worried about being disappointed. The truth is that I should of set the bar higher because sunn o)))’s greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley (soma) created an experience that was so awe inspiring-you had to be there to see, hear, feel, and literally taste it.

Sunn o))) was crowd surfing / kicking / head banging / pouring wine onto the crowd:
It is customary for greg and soma to drink an entire red bottle of wine each while on stage, but what happened last night was not routine. It started with a very young drunk guy in the middle of the crowd who could not stand up straight-he was bumping into everyone around him. The surrounding crowd started pushing him and he eventually he made his way to the front of the stage. What this guy was thinking-or not-lead into what I thought was going to be a disaster, but ended up making the show at the knitting factory in nyc very memorable. This drunken guy crawled onto the stage, raised his hands in the air and acted very disrespectfully. soma walked up and kicked the guy’s back, landing the drunk into the crowd, everyone cheered, and a small mosh pit started for around 30 seconds. the drunken guy got back on the stage. This time, greg poured his bottle of wine all over the guy and rubbed his guitar strings over the guys head-the crowd started clapping and laughing. Finally a security guard came on the stage to grab the guy, but the drunk guy just sat there, so greg waived the security guard away. Greg moved up the front of the stage, started slowly head banging, everyone in crowd started headbanging and reached up to touch greg. soma walked to the front and gave a ‘sign of the horns’ to which the whole crowd put their hands up and started screaming! At this point, greg turned around, held his guitar to his body and fell back into the front of the crowd where he was held up, passed back and crowd surfed for a minute-the only thing that keep greg from going further back was his guitar cord. Soma then took his bottle of wine and started pouring it into the mouths and all over the front row. The crowd could not get enough, and when the show did end-it was as if the back stage lit silhouetted dark cloaks, the smoke machined invisible atmosphere, and the deafening sound literally represented hell-where living with the southern lord is more enjoyable than listening to the headline news of our sinking economy.

1 sunn o))) shirt -$15
2 sunn o))) buttons - free
1 sunn o))) grimmrobe demo limited edition three LP picture disc: aux dix 2008 -$40
knowing that i was there - priceless

Posted by .thejass. | October 20, 2008 1:46 PM

If you thought it was boring, then you probably aren't really a Sunn O))) fan...or else you would have known what to expect (just the two of them performing grimmrobe, no vocals, no moog, just pummeling squalls of new-asshole-creating guitar, etc.)


Posted by Brussel Sprout | October 20, 2008 2:02 PM

first time sunn experience and really dug it, awesome stuff

"People who would say he was good, are the same who said Growing was better than Boris when they opened for them. What a joke "

i can see not being into the violin explorations, but dude g r o w i n g is totally on another level than boris. you just aren't there yet i guess.

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 3:19 PM

"i can see not being into the violin explorations, but dude g r o w i n g is totally on another level than boris. you just aren't there yet i guess."

Agreed, they are on another level...a DIFFERENT level. That doesn't make one band better than the other.

Boris kills!
Growing kills!
Hey Ya kills!

Posted by Brussel Sprout | October 20, 2008 3:50 PM

Growing is great and all, but it's kind of ridiculous to say they were better than Boris when they opened for them back in March. Boris' closing drone alone was better than Growing's entire set, and it was probably longer, too. It's kind of like comparing apples to oranges, but in this case apples are just way better live.

Posted by feedbacker | October 20, 2008 4:17 PM

I was the dumbass who crawled on stage, and let me tell you, for the heaviest holiest show experience this year, the audience was surprisingly tame and zombie-like. Since when do people get annoyed that they are bumped into at a fucking metal show? I was transformed by decibel massage, and yes, I was totally out of my skull by most chemical standards, but you folks were too pre-occupied with appearing deep in "look how avant-garde i am because i'm at this show" thought to actually enjoy yourselves.

So I thought I'd stir things up a bit. And then we all had fun, right?
The only people who appreciated that were the goddamned band, when they thanked me afterwards. Greg said he'd never stage-dived in his career up until that point. Loosen the Fuck Up, people.

Posted by that "drunk" guy on stage | October 20, 2008 5:41 PM

If you really are that drunk guy, then go fuck yourself. It might be metal, but it's slow as fuck metal. Did you expect some sort of pit to form? There's no fucking beat. You were just stumbling around like a douche and pissing off the people around you. It's not that people mind contact at a metal show, it's just that moshing by yourself to Sunn is fairly ridiculous. There was a reason the crowd cheered when your stupid ass got hit.

Do you think you're cooler than everyone else there because you got wasted and staggered around aimlessly? Seriously brah?

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 6:30 PM

My point was that Growing blows. Crawling dude was fine since he did actually cause the night to end quite memorably. Majority of front row (Including myself) ended up literally bowing down to Greg & SOMA plus having wine poured all over us.

This isn't a band just to stare at and go "Oh, thats sure nice" Dude was a little obnoxious but so what. Everyone just took that energy and amplified it, might of not happened without that guy. So to you crawling dude, thank you.

Posted by Anonymous | October 20, 2008 9:06 PM

why is it that the worst photographers are the ones that ALWAYS have an obnoxious watermark? trust us, no one is going to steal those pix.

Posted by Anonymous | October 22, 2008 4:14 PM

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