Naam at Saint Vitus
I think I took about four years off from seeing this band. The last time I saw 'em was the last time I shot 'em. Aside from some new band members they really haven't changed at all, not even the beards. They also still don't have much of an Internet presence. You'll have to either watch the videos on their Facebook page or catch 'em live.
King Dude at Saint Vitus
The King continues to be awesome. His music can be rather poetic and even gentle at times, which makes it that much more shocking when he gets to the crazy stuff like the ending of "Lucifer's The Light Of The World".
Nothing at Saint Vitus
I suppose I should write something about Nothing (yes, the lineup of this particular show had a "Who's On First" quality).
Nothing are not as mellow as I had expected. You know how some bands, especially some psych/shoegaze bands, rock harder on their albums (because it sells) but are relaxed or almost sleepy on stage? Nothing are the opposite of that, closer to A Place To Bury Strangers or Nightmare Air without being consistently as loud. Unlike those bands Nothing's songs do have dreamy parts, but when they get to the rock parts these guys get aggressive. I think one of their guitarists did some real damage to his equipment, and he lost his shoe too. I like that level of intensity.
Lust For Youth at Saint Vitus
Some bands definitely aren't about the visuals and Lust For Youth is definitely one of them. Of course a lot of electronic bands are like that, just sort of standing there and playing. You have to stay near your equipment if it's too big to carry around!
Lust For Youth take a different tack than the electronic bands I usually hear. Instead of a stage full of gizmos generating overlapping noises and just generally making a mess of things they use a smaller set to create actual music. Melody is key, and the melodies are actually catchy too. Meanwhile electronic trickery such as sampling lines from a movie or random sound effects is pretty much limited to transitions between songs. Lead singer Hannes Norrvide has a distinctive, speak-wailing sort of singing style, but the important thing is that you can actually hear him sing. They seem like they could just as easily be a three or four-piece band with standard instruments (a la Monogold) but for whatever reason happened to go the electronic route.
Lust For Youth's sound has to be called melancholy if only because of the singing style. It suggests of longing, of unrequited passions and unfulfilled desires. Yet their sound is also a little bit uplifting. The longing will not be forever, the desires can be survived or maybe even appreciated. The overall mood kind of reminds me of The Cure: morose but not irrevocably so, seeing the beauty in the ashes if you will. And yes, you can dance to it. This isn't the kind of music I personally want to hear all the time (not a big electronic music fan) but it is intriguing and well worth a listen every now and again.
Marissa Nadler at Saint Vitus
Well now, apparently our local heavy metal mecca has a mellow side. Marissa Nadler's music is melancholy and gothick and fits quite nicely with the overall theme of the bar. Still, I'm so used to seeing metal guys rocking out on that stage (didn't LA Guns just play there?) that this was a bit of an odd experience.
Marissa Nadler is sort of the opposite of a metal guy. They both sing about love, but she sings about love which has passed, love which she wanted to last. Metal guys sing about love in the future, that evening specifically, and how long it's going to last. Some of those metal guys are silly and implausible people (see LA Guns), Marissa Nadler is neither of those things. She sounds honest when she sings about things which are just a little too painful to address directly. Despite the distancing veneer of poetry the feelings she sings about seem authentic. Her guitar and other instruments stay int he background, rarely taking the focus off those words. She adds just enough music to give her songs a heartbeat but the lyrics are the heart. Surely she is a poet as much as a musician, and she's quite good at it too.
Psychic Ills at Saint Vitus
Psychic Ills are sort of the opposite of the stereotypical New Year's Eve party band. Although they aren't exactly quiet and some of their songs rock they are not the least bit raucous. I wouldn't say that that the music is introspective, but most songs are about one person's state of mind, their place in the world or their relationship with exactly one other person. At the very least I would say that the songs are focused internally and the band's style reflects this.
Perhaps Psychic Ills made a New Year's resolution last year to add some visual spectacle to their shows. Every time I have seen them lately they have a projector blasting out colors and shapes. So they're certainly more colorful now, though the venue wasn't really helping by keeping the spotlights set to blue-and-only-blue the whole time. Aside from that their style hasn't changed a bit.
As I went through these photos I kept thinking "That would make a nice oil painting". I did not "oilify" a single photo but yes, in case you were wondering, I screwed around with that last shot.
Have an exciting 2013 y'all! I know I will.