U-God is the Wu-Tang member that probably gets the least respect out of any of them. Last night at Santos Party House, I figured out why. Has this guy not been paying attention to anything in hip-hop for the past decade? His beats are beyond bland and his rhyming is sub-par compared to everyone else in Wu Tang these days. He kept talking about his new record coming out, and by the end of the show I was wishing he would never release it. Not moving from his position center stage the entire time, by the end of his set it felt like a Republican preaching to an audience of Democrats—nobody gave a damn what he was saying.
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Implementing more into their sound than just metal influences, these guys find glory in the use of guitar pedals to design their sound, building thrashing power chords into layers of hell-infused volume. Drummer Dale Nixon fills more space than I think I’ve ever seen anyone fill with a kit that minimal—the perfect metal drummer. Being Brooklyn residents, they had one of the larger crowds of the night and everyone was left in some kind of volume-induced trance. After the set, there was no way you could talk to the person next to you or even communicate with the bar tender unless you physically pointed to whatever you wanted.
These guys scared the crap out of me. I forgot how loud music can get, and yeah it was like an actual herd of bison coming at you full force through those speakers. Never banking too much on guitar solos, this East Vancouver quartet used the power of numbers to play as loud and hard as possible, with their constant interplay providing some of the best low-end riffage I’ve heard in recent years. On their MySpace under the “sounds like” section it says, “Your heart exploding in your chest.” My ears are still ringing the morning after.
Going into the Metal Blade/Relapse/Lifeforce showcase I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. All I know is I needed desperately to get away from the scene I was in, and get a glimpse of some metal (which is highly underappreciated among the CMJ folk). This or the Apocalypse was a pretty good way to start making my ears bleed a little. Banking on a new era of hardcore/thrash, these relatively young chaps weren’t screwing around. Playing to one of the smaller audiences I’d seen at CMJ thus far (once again, the metal factor), they still gave a valid, solid performance to a small crowd of hardcore devotees.
This English trio have obviously been catching up on their early ‘90s quintessential indie rock and emo and formulating their own style upon that style. Not exactly a bad thing, but at certain times they were shooting for Built to Spill, others they were shooting for Sunny Day Real Estate type riffage. It’s fun to listen to on the surface level, but not much else. If that’s what they are going for, then they succeeded. But to provide an audience of industry folk with a formulaic sound is like sticking your hand on the stove to make sure its hot—frankly, a bad idea.