Aviv is a really fun place to see a show. It has that wonderful punk rock vibe that makes so much of the Brooklyn scene so great but manages to have excellent sound, a cheap bar and a relatively safe atmosphere. It's a venue that has managed to figure out the best of both worlds, which makes me sad that they will be closing down son. As with many nights like this it started at punk o'clock, in many ways only adding to the inherent charm of the venue and the show. There's something special about gathering with twenty five other punks and falling in love all over again.
First up were black metallers Surgeon on tour from Philadelphia. They came on and delivered the same sort of destructive madness that made their new record Beast Of Light such a hit. Surgeon understand the fundamental beauty of black metal, and though they seemed limited by the size of the stage they delivered a set that left me in awe. Their sheer compositional excellence shines through in a live setting and you start to get a sense for how goddamn talented these guys are. They hint at several types of black metal but manage to create something that is entirely their own - passionate and over the top.
Sunrot were at the end of a three day run with Surgeon, and despite their frontwoman losing her voice they managed to put on a killer show, brought forward by Lex's dynamic antics. There is something wonderfully huge about this bands sound, it's easy to get lost in their sound. They represent a great combination of punk rock aesthetics and sludgier, doomier frontiers. Sunrot move forward with a sort of antediluvian might, aware of their own humanity but willing to push boundaries in the name of punk rock. They are the sort of band tailor made for Aviv - they understand the genre can take us farther, but show that they will never forget their roots.
I had seen Devoidov years ago when they were still Pharaoh. Now they have another guitar player and a more evolved, far gnarlier sound. They were stunning to watch live, they represent a very exciting side of the sludge metal genre, beautifully orchestrated but also wonderfully sludgy. Their music is fundamentally jam oriented, but their understanding of riffs is truly exciting and hints at a band who could go on to do some amazing things. As is, they are a lot of fun to watch and suggest to me that Devoidov is exactly the next phase that Pharaoh needed to enter to start to achieve their full potential.
I hadn't seen Dutchguts last night but I'd heard a lot about them. I'm thrilled to report that they totally live up to the hype. This is the sort of fuzzy, dirty and fucked up rock and roll band who perfectly represent what their genre is all about. Tossing in a Motorhead cover to their set to liven things up you get the sense that Dutchguts are the spirit of punk rock. Sure some of the songs drag on, but with guitar tone this tight and riffs that juicy it's hard not to remain entranced by Dutchguts. Sure they went on late, but they fucked shit up anyway because their unique blend of stoner rock, hardcore and punk is what the underground feeds on.
And so the underground beats on - nights like these remind us that we can still have fun moshing with our friends, engaging in gang vocals and even taking group photos. Bands need floors to sleep on and shitty food to eat - that's part of how it's supposed to be and the people who run Aviv get that. It was a night that showed that despite the nihilism of the underground there is still hope and no matter what we can find a way forward, figure out the eternal pain we all suffer from and drink a few beers with our friends.
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