Algiers at Johnny Brenda's
Many, not all, but many of Algiers's songs are just so HEAVY, both musically and in the weighty policial and personal reflections in their lyrics. They've labeled themselves "Doom Soul" which is certainly apt. Isn't it interesting though that they use samples of gospel music in so many of those heavy songs? Gospel music can be about praise but it can also be about souls and suffering. I have the feeling their songwriter has a churchgoing experience more full of the latter than the former. It would certainly explain a lot.
Buck Gooter at Johnny Brenda's
It's hard not to call a band "Industrial" when the band members are wearing half a car between them. Buck Gooter combine searing vocals, electronic effects (trust me, that acoustic guitar does not sound acoustic), and unique percussion techniques into a musical style which varies from straight-up fierce to thoughtfully intense. Also, politics. Both band members sing, both have plenty to say about the state of the world, and both will try their hardest to drill it into your head. Though Billy (percussion/electronics) is more aggressive than Terry (guitar) in all fairness.
Adia Victoria at Johnny Brenda's
The one thing which stands out to me about Adia Victoria's music is that much of the time she sounds like she's whispering. Not quietly of course (there are six other musicians on stage) but her singing still sounds unusually intimate. Now, I assume it is hard to sing the Blues about abstract concepts. Of course Adia Victoria sings about her own life and she has, apparently, been through quite a lot. What is so impressive is the way that her singing style really emphasizes that she is sharing something personal with the audience. Not that I mind when she rocks out a little, though.
Once in a while I end up taking too many pictures of the lead singer and ignoring everyone else. That appears to be the case once again however... I've seen Adia Victoria perform with four or five different line-ups. This may be her first all-male backing band, actually. Anyway, this is very much the Adia Victoria show so most of the photos are of her.
Britt Thomas and the Breaker Boys at Johnny Brenda's
After hearing Britt Thomas and the Breaker Boys, and having heard the lead singer's previous band Cherokee Red, I have to say that I do see the connection there. Both of them are (or were) storytelling bands. Tales of life, mostly the troubling and unpleasant parts, set to music. The new band is both a little more Country and a little more Rock-n-Roll and has played shows with both types of bands, so hopefully they end up being a little less niche as well.
This is a short set of photos because I'm trying to learn how to use my new camera (a Sony a7 III). Unfortunately I'm running into problems like the well-known banding issue (like in this photo) and at least one Canon lens (used with an adapter) which doesn't want to focus sometimes. I'll get the hang of it eventually but I sure hate losing good photos to that sort of weirdness.
Taiwan Housing Project at Johnny Brenda's
There is a certain type of very aggressive, feedback-heavy artsy band which really confuses me. I find that I like the intensity of their music but don't like the actual music so much. Something about making songs without any sort of hooks or anything which holds my attention for more than a bit just doesn't work for me. Perhaps all the songs just sound the same?
Taiwan Housing Project are a good example of what those bands ought to be (according to me, anyway). Imagine a noise band writing songs which are actually kind of catchy. Maybe not every song, but mix in something like this or this with all that aggression and suddenly I'm paying attention. Plus the fact that different songs actually sound different makes me think that the band has more than one idea and that it might be worth engaging with the music intellectually (imagine that!)