Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grind Crush and Destroy, Part II 7.28.2012

Man.  And I thought the Arson Project show was crazy.

At the end of the July, KL was graced with not one but two groups of visiting Aussies: Captain Cleanoff (beginning their South East Asian tour) and Idylls (ending theirs). A week into Ramadan (and less than 24 hours after the two bands shared a stage in a different part of KL), I felt pretty certain the turnout would be anaemic.  But Rumah Api was bustling by the time I arrived - having finally figured out the way things work around here, I managed to be on time by showing up two hours late.  Today, I am a Malaysian.

Gymnastic Skull Whistling are something of a fixture at Rumah Api, and their 625-ready power violence set the tone for the rest of the night.  In a genre that's often derivative, I appreciate a band like GSW whose approach is slightly off the wall; though I'm scratching my head as to why "Mary Had a Little Lamb" made its way into one of their songs.

Compulsion to Kill may have been the most aptly named band of the night, a no-frills death/grind crew with a guitar tone that took me back to when in metal there was no law.  One of the few grind bands in the local scene with a full line-up (bassists are rarer here than kosher delis), their dual vocalist approach reminded me of Tools of the Trade, though Compulsion have fewer hooks, preferring to simply bludgeon their way through their material.

Coming from the same town as GSW, Rotgut share a drummer with the openers (as well as a guitar pedal, apparently).  Three bands into the gig, grindcore overload was starting to set in and I wasn't sure how many more minute-long blasts I could take; luckily Rotgut play a more hook-oriented style, Pig Destroy-ing in intent if not in scope.  The audience was into it, and I had a hard time standing upright - either due to their enthusiasm or because a few hard leg kicks had battered my leg earlier that day.

I'll bet my Jane Doe hoodie that co-headliners Idylls own a Converge record or five, sharing the Boston legends' love for skronking guitars layered over breakneck hardcore.  Idylls were firing on all cylinders, but problems arose midway through their set when the guitar started cutting out- maybe it isn't "the Swedish curse" after all.  Switching out amps seemed to work temporarily, but it remained an issue for the rest of the night.  Despite all that, the audience's enthusiasm never let up, and I decided to seek refuge behind the drummer when bodies started flying through the air.  The technical problems were an unfortunate mishap since this was the last date of Idyll's SEA tour, but they should be lauded for their performance;  all things considered, it was one to be proud of.

The "stage" at Rumah Api is really more of an idea than a physical reality, but even so the audience invasion during Captain Cleanoff's set began to feel like the end of a Romero movie - though, to the band's credit, they seemed to enjoy the chaos, including when the crowd picked up vocalist Ben and attempted to carry him for the duration of a song (without him missing a word).  Tight as they are on record, the entropy suited their unrelenting Terrorizer-style of grindcore well, and whatever minor equipment hiccups that occurred when band and audience collided didn't hamper anyone's enjoyment, as evidenced by calls for an encore. And of course, dogpiles.