Sunday, December 4, 2011

Concert Review: Antikythera, Hungers, Sloths, Aerial Ruins @ Antikythera House & Megaton House, Portland, Or

Six awesome bands, split between two awesome houses, smack dab in the middle of bleak, strip-mall sprawl, way the fuck out there in Northeast Portland. I was totally stoked to be seeing some noisemetalpunk, after a summer of forests and faery lights.
I killed some time in the monolithic Fred Meyer's across the way, bringing some nice french bread and bananas as my suggested donation; a novel concept for metalheads, who usually subsist on hops barley and adrenaline. I arrived in time for the first act, in the basement of the Antikythera, a solo acoustic act called Aerial Ruins, the solo project of one Erik Moggridge. The basement was steeped in infernal ambience, dripping red light, deer skulls suspended from the ceiling. Moggridge cast a dark circle, initiating the evening; a lone voice, suspended in cough syrup, creaking like old wood; a single guitar, anchoring it to this world. Like a haunted barn, or a cermony in the middle of a pine forest. Ethereal, yet rustic, these are the sounds i am obsessed with; that defy easy categorization and comfortable labels. It demands attention, to belch forth its treasures. It makes people uncomfortable. Hipsters out for a good time, or looking for a quick fuck on a Sat. night, are not necessarily wanting to be swallowed up in an amniotic cocoon of steel and string and teeth and venom; but for the devotees, his music will transport you. The 45 minutes of his set almost uncannily echoed what was writhing in my soul, and allowed me to be present for the rest of the evening, with all my mental confusion and exhaustion i was experiencing. He was kind enough to slide me a copy of his album, for review, so expect to hear more of this fellow, here at jsheaven.
Next up were Hungers, who summoned a gelatinous wall of headbang, like a hurricane of sparks and light, with a fragrance of wet fur; gently slamming you to yr knees, perhaps in gratitude, perhaps in preparation for execution. I was so keyed up from having to actually SPEAK to HUMANS, prying words like splinters of tinsel from eyeballs, and it was hard to get lost in their sound. I liked their mood and their tone, and i think they're from around here, so i'll have to check them out some more, and give them my undivided attention.

Sliding over to the Megaton basement to catch Sloths, who brought the much needed death twitch spazz release, tight and intricate as a trap door spider's machinations.

Here's a recap:
2 headbutts;

1 elbow to larynx;

3/4 waltz;

Insect Warfare Backpatch;

Pretty girl in white dress, slamming into my ribcage;


fall, get up;


My vision was greying out, and my chest felt tight, but i felt entirely free from fear. My body could be damaged, but you can never touch ME. I was entirely free. The whole night, i was watching my personality squirm like a tequila worm on a hot-plate, dealing with insecurity and jealousy and anxiety and poor nutrition, but i was the eye of the hurricane, always observing. I heard someone say, 'i'll always get my ass kicked for metal,' and that pretty well sums it up. This music is not about being comfortable. Its about pushing yrself and being strong. This night was the real shit, the total underground. Wild and unhinged. Sloths pulled me out of my 'objective journalist' headspace, and cast me down into the pit, reminded me of my quintessence.

Back to the first house, arrived early and listened to Growing over the house PA, pleasantly silent and calm now. Waiting for Antikythera to play, watching them set up. Watching people being uncomfortable in the silence. Jesus Lizard coming on the stereo giving me a sense of what i was about to get into.

Antikythera are more than the sum of their influences, however. I can definitely tell the presence of Swans Jesu Godflesh Melvins Nadja in their collective record collections, but theirs was a distinctive aesthetic; their own voice. The presence of analog synth kicking out the low end, along with multiple signal paths from the guitar, going into a mountain of Orange amps the size of Giza, all held down to earth by leaden drums, there to beat down whatever hope may spring eternal.

The sound was fucking tremendous. I felt eternally grateful to be a devotee of the underground, even if i was wading through a river of psychic vomit for much of the evening. It was like walking in on a Bardo Pond gig, or Acid Mother's Temple, but paid for with bananas and you can get to know the bands a bit, afterwards. This is my life, and i will gladly give every ounce of sweat and blood for these sounds, these bands.

For a decade, i have been battling with mind-splitting passion for albums and concerts battling with jealousy bordering on hatred, wanting so badly to be making music of my own. I feel the personality striving to coalesce around a particularly image or idea or persona, hoping to alleviate this malaise of insecurity, caught in a catch 22 rat's nest of mediocre art, mediocre writing, and i am left, bashing my head bloody against the fucking wall. This constant devotion to shamanic house show sat. nights, has brought me eye to eye with unavoidable truths about myself, and i have no choice but to see, and to move forward.

All 4 bands i saw were top-notch, talented and hungry. The real shit. They're still unknown, and if yr in the Portland area, available to be seen frequently and probably cheaply. Both venues are also sweet, and well worth the venture on the Max, even if it seems a long ways away (its not that bad, they're like 2 blocks of the 99th/Gateway MAX stop. I didn't get to catch Megaton Leviathan or Drunk Dads, whom i'm sure were both stupendous, but i had to dip and catch a train. I'll make sure to catch 'em next time.

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