words & photos by BBG
Russian Circles @ Bowery Ballroom
I'm covered in drool and sweat from last night (11/14), but couldn't be happier. Besides a blown guitar head that hindered The Men's opening set, Russian Circles/Deafheaven's tour stop at Bowery Ballroom went spectacularly, featuring both touring bands in prime form. And if The Men weren't plagued by technical difficulty (I know what that band is capable of), the show could have possibly gone down as one of my favorites of the year.
The Men opened the show energetically, pulling material from their latest LP Leave Home. After borrowing a head from Deafheaven, the band ripped into three songs before trouble started to set in; the head would not work. After fumbling with it for one song and some awkward pauses, the band went into a final track before calling it a night.
"You're blowing our big chance!" the bassist jokingly said to his bandmates before sounding off for the evening. Disappointing set, but by no fault of their own... the band's rendition of "Think" from the new record was particularly ripping (one of the few songs they played from start to finish).
A fuse was replaced in guitarist Kerry McCoy's rig in between bands, and Deafheaven preceeded to wow the crowd with their screamo-infused take on black metal. Though the band was sporting a pair of new members (on guitar and drums), they sounded no worse for the change. In fact, by the time they really dug into the set-opener "Violet" (which we premiered in February), I was convinced that this was my favorite live outing from the band thus far (I have seen them at least four times by this point... at our SXSW parties and Cake Shop). Maybe it was my experience of seeing them on Bowery Ballroom's juggernaut-of-a-system, but the Bay Area band was in rare form last night.
Russian Circles batted clean-up, utilizing minimal stage lighting and counting on half a dozen light bulbs around stage to set the mood. The Chicago trio played an impressive set of hardcore-infused post-rock, equally as jaw-dropping as their Fun Fun Fun appearance amidst the sunset at Auditorium Shores. Russian Circles cannot make a bad album and in my experience, are incapable of a bad live show.
If you missed the show last night, do your best to get to Maxwell's tonight (11/15). Tickets are still on sale and surely The Men will have worked out their guitar head situation, and will definitely up the ante from an already impressive Bowery Ballroom show last night.
More pictures from Bowery Ballroom are below.