photos by Caroline Harrison and words by Doug Moore
Bad Powers at Saint Vitus, 9/21/2012
Over the last year or so, The Year Is One has become one of the NYC metal scene's perennial openers. Despite featuring members from screamo/skramz legends Saetia and Orchid, The Year Is One don't deal with histrionics -- they performed their polymorphous grind stoically and efficiently. Instead of the usual guitar/bass pairing, the band has two bassists -- one bassist fills the guitarist's role with a six-string bass while the other holds down the bottom end. Weirdly, this configuration doesn't make for a wildly unconventional sound; it just produces less washed-out treble than a guitar/bass combo might.
Sannhet has also become an opening mainstay as of late and their elaborate presentation makes them hard to forget. They've got a full-on light show at their disposal, complete with projected visualizations, rhythm-synced strobes, and even incense jammed into amp grills. The spectacle befits Sannhet's booming post-metal, which is viscerally satisfying in person -- albeit too familiar for its own good.
I was a huge fan of Made Out of Babies's scathing noise rock, and it bummed me out when the band recently split up after just three albums. As happy as I was to hear that most of the lineup was carrying on as Bad Powers, I was also a little skeptical -- charismatic MOoB vocalist Julie Christmas isn't easy to replace. That Bad Powers's album was mostly written before Christmas's departure complicates matters; the new material was originally intended for her voice.
Bad Powers vocalist Megan Tweed thus finds herself in a difficult position: replacing an acclaimed predecessor in a setting that automatically sets up comparisons to her. To Megan's credit, she acquitted well for herself vocally, matching most of Christmas's vocal and performance tics step for step, though with somewhat more underwear-flashing than was strictly necessary. The rest of the band has retained the stringy muscle and songwriting chops that made them so exciting in the MOoB days. Bad Powers is off to a strong start, but I'm excited to hear what they can do when they start writing explicitly for Tweed's voice.
More pictures from Saint Vitus are below.
The Year is One