Matinee shows at ABC No Rio, the "Madison Square Garden of Hardcore" have always had a special place in my heart. This is after all the beating heart of a genre we all love, and attending shows there is a veritable rite of passage for any sort of 'weird' individual in the New York music scene. The point being, watching wonderfully pretty sounding bands in a tiny space like this is an incredibly intense experience, something you never forget because it reflects a profound humanity within us all... or maybe I just like loud music too much.
Showing up late (Hailz NYC public transport!) the first band I was able to catch was Planning For Burial, a promising one man project from the incredibly demented land of Wilkes Barre. The sense of despair within the beauty of these tracks is impressive and speaks to something darker in all of us. Though it would be easy to cast aside this project, full of sonic layers and suburban angst as just another pretentious white kid project I think there is something much deeper to it. The raw sense of agony that gives this project flavor in the live context is stunning. It shows that within us all there is a certain sorrow that remains indomitable, no matter the age.
Up next were post-metal stalwarts Black Table who, fresh off a tour, hit the city for the first time in years. I had seen them play a basement in Allentown about a month prior and this performance was miles ahead of their last. The band is a tight unit, their bodies slaves to the unholy motion that this kind of music provokes. As you watch them you feel drawn up into incredible sonic landscapes, artfully crafted but also strangely human. Every aspect of this band is immaculate in its conception, from the bleak minor key melodies to the potent bass lines and the thunderous drumming. The point being - Black Table are one of the most unique and exciting bands out there right now and there resurgence upon the scene is sure to lead to great things.
Finally the hour was right for So Hideous to take the stage with a sound that is anything but. These guys are among the true geniuses of the modern metal scene. Celebrating the release of their new record, the earth shaking Laurestine So Hideous unleashed forty five minutes of their blissful, apocalyptic, and strangely cleansing music. Though it was hard to get a good view (A hundred people jam packed into a room without a stage will do that) there was an overpowering sense of majesty that made this set incredibly memorable. With a potent light show and an exciting overall performance it's hard not to be enamored with what So Hideous do. Even for those who have no real interest in metal So Hideous manage to transcend the art form and make you feel full - a sign of the greatness of this band.
The point I'm trying to make is that we're at a unique time in the history of metal. We are at a moment where we can all get together and watch multiple bands that use beautiful orchestrations and lush soundscapes play a hole in the wall on the Lower East Side. I don't think any of us take this for granted - but I think it speaks to where we are as a culture. There is something very strange about how this scene works and how potentially immense cultural moments are ignored - but that's also part of the beauty of it that could guide us towards something truly great.
Find the bands on Facebook!
Planning for Burial: https://www.facebook.com/planningforburial
Black Table: https://www.facebook.com/blacktableband
So Hideous: https://www.facebook.com/sohideous