Show Review: Lower Dens @ the Parish (6/26)

A show that I billed as a must see this past Tuesday definitely lived up to its expectations.  I met up with our photographer Brian Gray, and we jammed it out.

Alan Resnickopened up with a brief sketch/comedy show…approximately 15 minutes.  I can’t really explain the details, other than the show revolved around creating an avatar to live on once you were dead.  Moments were funny, moments were odd, but it was definitely something different to kick off the evening.

From then on, we were thrown into lion’s den, with No Joy taking to the stage.  The group is just ridiculously solid, and I’m absolutely in awe of their live performances.  Hair in the eyes, guitars turned up loud, and just a barrage of noise.  Having just released their Negaverse EP, the girls (+ dude) just blasted through a no bullshit performance.  They barely spoke, but it didn’t matter one bit, as every single track was executed to near perfection.  The way the guitars duel and the female vocal parts barely float in reminds me of those heavier Sonic Youth songs when Kim would take over.  If you’re looking for a guitar idol for your daughter…no one bangs it out like the ladies here. Seriously, one of my favorite bands to see live.

Our evening wrapped up with the more ethereal Lower Dens.  They turned off all the lights on stage, choosing to let minimal photo montages play behind them while they played.  All the songs of their recent release, Nootropics, sounded incredible; the band continues to flesh out their sound to perfection.  Of course, the biggest applause came from their early hit, “Tea Lights;” that song still moves me, no matter where or when I hear it.  I’ll admit, that after watching the shredding of No Joy, the live performance itself was a little bit lacking, but what the group lacked in stage presence they more than made up for with their well-crafted post rock.  I guess if we’re going to stick with old-school references, the band is beginning to sound like a more melodic Slint (like the Spiderland track, “Washer”).  Something about the craftsmanship of the foursome continues to impress, and at the moment, I don’t see many, if any, doing better.

There are a few more pics at the photo site. [photo guy note] Always upset when bands don’t take advantage of the great lights at The Parish. Oh well, fun challenge…

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