Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Floor, Darsombra, Hot Victory @ Saint Vitus, 5.5.14

Floor wasn't particularly high on the list of bands I wanted to see while in New York - I'd heard a total of one song prior to seeing them, and aren't particularly a fan of Steve Brooks' other band Torche. But the show afforded me an opportunity to see Darsombra, who I'd only ever seen once back in 2008. (It also afforded me the first trip back to my old neighbourhood of Greenpoint, and an excuse to visit my old BJJ gym and grab something at my usual Chinese take out, as well as pine for the days when my training, banking, and metal gigs were all within a 15 minute walk). Plus, I'm going to be spending a lot of time at Saint Vitus this month - I might as well break the ice.

By setting up projections behind them and inviting the audience to enjoy their set by sitting on the floor, Darsombra clearly designed their set to be experienced and not just heard. With both their visuals and music revolving around repetition and abstraction, their music very quickly takes on a meditative quality. [The matching white outfits were a nice touch.] After a while, I couldn't tell if I was on acid or if the room was. And when Brian Daniloski picked up his guitar and started rocking out in front of the projection, I had flashbacks of his previous band, the criminally under-rated Meatjack. Even in jaded, too cool for school Brooklyn, the crowd watched with rapt attention. From beginning to end, Darsombra went beyond just playing music to create a completely immersive experience.
With two drummers and a set up that includes a lot of triggered synth sounds, Hot Victory are what the THX intro would sound like if Neil Peart wrote it. For the second time in as many days, I was struck by how much indie rock (ostensibly an offshoot of punk) has embraced the excess of 70's prog, despite punk rock being a reaction to the bloat and self-indulgence of bands like Yes and Rush. Not that Hot Victory are particularly indulgent - driven by percussion and lacking a backing band or vocals, their music is somewhere between Laibach's sparse militarism and the Blue Man Group.

Saint Vitus was packed for Floor, which I'm assuming is due to the Torche connection. I dig Floor more than Torche (because I'm that guy - try to act surprised); at their heaviest, Floor remind me of Fudge Tunnel and Godflesh (though "sounds like Fudge Tunnel" doesn't really explain why Decibel have been pimping them so hard; Steve Brooks does look like a young Brian Doyle-Murray, so maybe that's the reason?). When the beardos finally started moshing, one of the dudes off to the side looked at me and rolled his eyes. And when I found myself agreeing with him, I realized that I'm officially old. Maybe it's time to trade in the Napalm Death hoodie for the J Crew shirt/sweater vest combo that was so popular that night.