The Blood of Heroes / DEFCE @ Saint Vitus 5/31/2014
On Saturday (5/31), Greenpoint venue St. Vitus played host to one of the most highly anticipated (by me at least) and eclectic musical showcases of all time which was put together by monster label OHM Resistance. The show, which kicked off at 8 PM on the nose, featured, in order of appearance, Katmai, Invertia, DEFCE (as opposed to previously billed and very much related act SHVLFCE), Silent Killer, and The Blood of Heroes. Pictures from the whole night are in this post.
If you ever wanted to get a glimpse at just how eclectic a label OHM Resistance is, then this show was your opportunity. The evening kicked off with one-man sonic tapestry weaver Katmai, and what a perfect introduction to an evening of original works Katmai was. Using an insane menagerie of pedals and a fender strat, Katmai creates truly beautiful and compelling melodies that completely absorb and swaddle the listener. Drony, enveloping, swelling, and dramatic, Katmai was an absolutely flawless choice of openers, especially considering how all over the aural spectrum the subsequent acts would be.
After a brief interlude, the audience was greeted by a dorky looking Christian nerd wearing khakis, a shortsleeved button down shirt, tie, glasses and boat shoes. He wanted us to take a moment and learn a little bit about the gospel of Jesus. He asked that we give him our attention for just a few moments and hear his band. Obviously, it was a schtick, but the dude looked the part so well that for a second I thought maybe he had just wandered in off the street. He gave me the creeps big time. He sauntered over to a computer/drum machine apparatus and was joined on-stage by a bass player and a guitar player. What followed was the most dramatic and unbelievable black metal experience I have ever witnessed, for this was the live debut of Invertia.
Although not a single set that evening disappointed me, Invertia was hands down, 100%, the highlight of the entire night. Having only ever heard their Bandcamp I had an idea what to expect, but their live show was the total package and exceded expectations. The music was blistering. The vocals were among the filthiest and most brutal I have ever heard. And they were accompanied by some truly creepy projected images which lent a tangible sense of unease to the darkness of their music; old images of people in asylums, criminals, religious iconography, and towards the end images of a more mystical, satanic, and Bruegel-esque nature. I've seen a lot of great metal bands at St. Vitus, but I've also seen plenty of shitty ones too. Invertia was hands down one of the best I have seen ANYWHERE and if they don't get themselves onto more NYC metal bills ASAP then my faith in the NYC metal scene will vanish.
The next act, DEFCE, brought a whole different phylum of aural stank to the room and also didn't disappoint one bit. DEFCE is basically a two-person version of previously billed SHVLFCE and what they brought to the mix is their own incredible interpretations of techstep, drum 'n' bass, IDM and hardcore. When you look at the pics I know you're going to be all "two dude's standing behind a computer and some mixing gear. Must have been pretty boring." And I am the first to shit on set-ups like this! But this was fantastic! Working collaboratively, they unwound a barrage of beats that were as deadly as they were loud. Really loud. Fast and loud. Punching me in my guts. It was insane. I loved it.
DEFCE was followed by sonic menace Silent Killer. Silent Killer killed it, but he was anything but silent. Although I don't see many drum 'n' bass shows in my travels on this cretinous planet, it was clear that he is deeply rooted in that genre. But he seems more interested in exploring and putting a magnifying glass over certain elements of the genre and tweaking the shit out of it. Like DEFCE and Invertia, Silent Killer's set was super loud, but I found it to be little more dancey or dance-able if that's your thing. Definitely not my thing, dancing. Ew. Can you imagine? But I loved his set. It was so well executed and brutalist. You gotta get over to his Bandcamp and experience this.
Four bands and several beers and pork sliders later, headliner The Blood of Heroes took the stage before a very eager crowd. The two main reasons their set was so highly anticipated was because, first, this was their first-ever live performance ever. Anywhere. EVER. Second, because, well, Bill Flippin' Laswell. Their set was flawless from start to finish. Dr. Israel totally owned the room, the marriage of computers and gizmos to the real instruments was flawless. And Bill looked like he was having a fantastic time up there playing. My only complaint was that their set was short. But who am I to judge. We got a taste and it was delicious. I cannot wait for them to come to town again.
More photos from the OHM Resistance showcase below...
The Blood Of Heroes