Another night another show at the Acheron, by god do I love this venue. In a world where so many venues eschew DIY ethics in favor of bigger shows the Acheron stands as a big blazing middle finger to the world, serving amazing food and hosting some of the best shows. It's fascinating to me how they have managed to cultivate a very specific culture of their own despite being in walking distance of Saint Vitus Bar. So tonight was yet another great night at the venue, a reminder of the power and glory of what is perhaps the greatest truly DIY venue on earth.
First up was Nathanael LaRochette, a brilliant classical guitarist who has also been featured on a ton of your favorite records. His set was entrancing he played a handful of pieces, mostly from his most recent, and still unreleased record. His dark acoustic vibes and sheer mastery of the instrument captured the imagination, meanwhile his understated stage presence was the perfect counterpoint to the at times overwhelming presence of his guitar. It's rare that you stumble across a musician this goddamn talented, but digging his vibes is endlessly entertaining and reminds us of how we got here. LaRochette may not be a big name now, but he has an understanding of the genre that will keep you coming back time and time again.
Insect Ark were up next. I've seen Dana Schechter perform four or five times now and every time I am utterly blown away. The power behind her compositions is regularly stunning and the droning overarching power of what she has crafted here is a tribute to her prodigious musical talents. Insect ark live is a deeply emotional experience, with Dana wielding her bass as just another tool in an apparently endless toolkit. As you dive in you have to take Insect Ark's live show as an opportunity to turn on, tune in and drop out. This is not a band for people with conventional taste, but if you can embrace her inner darkness you will find your freedom.
I've wanted to see Aerial ruin for at least a year now - after all Erik Moggridge is a bit of a legend in some circles. Asides from having guested on both Bell Witch records he also is something of a travelling troubadour, frequently embarking on three month long tours, just because he can. Live he is everything you would want. There is a profound sense of mystery to his performances, but also a look into human nature. His use of layering and his high pitched vocals resonate out across audiences and have a sort of otherworldly magic to him. Suddenly the years on the road seem to fall off of Moggridge and we see into ourselves and the salvation that Aerial Ruin provides.
I wasn't sure what to expect of Sanhedrin. I had seen the name around but had never listened to the band or seen them live. Of course they ended up being absolutely stunning. This is a band who truly get speed metal. With their rock and roll swagger, harmonized vocals and penchant to break out into psychedelic passages Sanhedrin can't help but to make you smile. Sure, I'm not a huge fan of the psychedelic bits, but in many ways they provide a vital relief from the balls out heavy metal thunder that defines so much of the band. Sanhedrin come alive incredibly quickly and take on the night - lords of this world and demonic masters of their own reality.
And so the night came to a close. I was exhausted but happy, aware that I had to be awake in jut a few hours, but also confident in the knowledge that the rock and roll would see me through. In the end - what more can you want than some loud guitars and rapid drums to close out an evening of introspection? As I've said before, the Acheron has some wonderful bills, and last night was no exception. As we find our way forward, it's the nights like these, not the bad times, that we are going to remember.
Find the bands on Facebook and Bandcamp!
Nathanael LaRochette: https://nathanaellarochette.bandcamp.com/
Insect Ark: https://www.facebook.com/InsectArk/?fref=ts
Aerial Ruin: https://www.facebook.com/Aerial-Ruin-147339635318278/