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Thursday, September 11, 2008

sBACH, 31Knots, Capillary Action, and Quadrillion @ the Sunset

posted by on September 11 at 13:28 PM

Capillary Action, who have been through the Sunset a few times in the last year (notably as Joe Lally from Fugazi’s backing band last November), are now based out of Seattle instead of Philly. Their start/stop lounge hardcore is precise but explosive, shifting from intricate guitar riffs to jazz breakdowns to sweeping instrumentals over the course of any single minute. They are a band that fully understands and exploits dynamics, and are obviously proper students of music theory. Their sound was a great fit with 31Knots, unlike the first act Quadrillion. There wasn’t anything particularly bad about the opener, but also nothing particularly interesting or original, and on a bill this packed with innovative musicians, simplistic garage pop is double boring.


The place filled for 31Knots set, and they gave another of their clockwork excellent performances. This is a band as proficient in the theatrics of a performance as the actual playing of their instruments: singer Joe Haege started the show with his face concealed by a cloth bag, kind of like this, then proceeded to flail while crooning, wrap the bassist’s neck in cable, tromp through the audience with and without his guitar, and (sort of) change his costume. Their set was a mix of the best moments from Worried Well - specifically “Compass Commands” and the desolation anthem “The Breaks” - and the always entertaining guitar and bass showcase of “Darling, I” and “Man Become Me.” I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of seeing this band play live.

I hadn’t heard anything from new Suicide Squeezers sBACH prior to the show, but I knew there was a chance of it being awesome with Spencer Seim at the helm. Though a lot of Hella’s material is too much noise and too little substance, if his new project was anything like an original version of the Advantage (I am still reeling from the awesomeness of their set at the Paradox two years ago) my late night would be well spent. With the drums set up front stage but facing backwards, it was clear this project was an excuse for Seim to showcase his rhythmic prowess, and maybe try to compete with the legend of his Hella counterpart Zach Hill. Though it was initially surprising when Seim announced to the crowd that this was their first show, it became much less monumental as they plodded through their set. The songs were short, fairly boring 8-Bit jams, with lots of guitars and keyboards that never did anything all that intriguing. Seim’s drumming was, as expected, pretty great, but drumming isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the focus of this kind of music, and there were none of the epic guitar doubling or scales that make the Advantage so enthralling. These were darker, more brooding NES numbers, like the levels where you have to fight goblins. But strung together over and over, side by side, it became a whole game of fighting goblins and never anything lighthearted or triumphant, and it got repetitive and boring. By the end of the set the room had dwindled down to only a few people still standing. Bummer.

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I saw Capillary Action a while back at the Greenhouse and they sounded like a Fantômas cover band.

Posted by bunnypuncher | September 11, 2008 8:01 PM

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