Monday, October 28, 2013

Live Show Review: Kylesa, Pinkish Black - 10/26/13

Kylesa, Pinkish Black
Date:  October 26, 2013
Venue:  Empire, Springfield, VA

Savannah, Georgia, sludge-metal veterans Kylesa rocked Springfield, Virginia, this past weekend - with doom-synth duo Pinkish Black in tow.  I made my first ever trek out to Empire, formerly Jaxx, located in a nondescript strip-mall forty minutes out in the 'burbs next to a kabob house, carpet store, and a nail salon.  A bit surreal for a city slicker used to cabbing hastily through congested urban avenues for shows, but even on a Saturday night there was plenty of free parking, cheap beer, and friendly bar staff.

Kylesa:  Laura Pleasants, Chase Rudeseal, and Phillip Cope
I missed openers Caustic Casanova and Sierra, but arrived just in time to catch Texas natives Pinkish Black.  Comprised of a very capable Jon Teague on drums and Daron Beck on keyboards and vocals, these guys have received a lot of attention in the indie-rock and metal blogospheres recently - in part because they ditch the guitars for groaning synthesizers, and for the gruesome nature of their origin.

Pinkish Black:  Jon Teague and Daron Beck
Pinkish Black formed as a duo in 2011 from the ashes of their former trio The Great Tyrant, after bass player Tommy Atkins committed suicide (apparently quite violently).  The band put out their self-titled debut last year and just released their sophomore LP Razed to the Ground.  Combining the goth aesthetic of Bauhaus and Joy Division with the epic doom of Black Sabbath, the duo pounded out a short set of spooky operatic cuts.  Not bad, but not terribly exciting either.

Heavy metal calisthenics - "up!"
Kylesa soon took the stage, opening with the ferocious "Scapegoat" from their masterpiece 2009 album Static Tensions, sending the crowd into fits of unruly head-banging.  Comprised of co-founders Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope sharing guitar and vocal duties, Chase Rudeseal on bass, and Carl McGinley and Eric Hernandez on two drum kits (like The Melvins), Kylesa are still in the midst of touring their newest album Ultraviolet.  

"and down!"
Ultraviolet, released earlier this year, continues Kylesa's sonic trajectory from high speed hardcore punk infused sludge-metal to groovier prog and psychedelic territory (similar to Georgian compatriots Mastodon and Baroness).  As such, the band reached deep into its back-catalogue only a few times, provoking a mosh-pit for vicious numbers like "Hollow Severer" from 2006's Time Will Fuse its Worth.

Phillip Cope keeping things creepy on the theremin, plus skateboard guitar!
Otherwise, Kylesa leaned on headier, but no less heavy, tracks from more recent albums like 2010's awesome Spiral Shadow.  Cope made good use of his homemade mad-scientist sound rig, built with a battery of effects pedals, theremin, and his trademark "skateboard guitar."  Cuts like "Don't Look Back" and "To Forget" kept the audience in rabid motion.  Even the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters showed up to thrash around in the pit.  Evil demigods and humans alike, good times were had by all.  Kylesa can't come back soon enough - just remember, don't cross the streams!

Evil deity Gozer appears in the pit, as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!

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