Saint Vitus at Bluebird Theater, 10/03/12
Tom Murphy Sourvein at Bluebird Theater
Earlier in the night, Sourvein, a band from, appropriately enough, Cape Fear, North Carolina, opened the show. With the bassist and guitarist hitting roughly the same tonal range in perfect synchronicity, it was hard to tell which was which in the mix, but that was clearly the point because the songs were like a sonic model of great, burning rocks striking semi-molten steel strings.
T-Roy Medlin sang in a shredded, feral wail reminiscent of John Brannon circa Negative Approach. These guys started off with the title track to the Imperial Bastard EP, dedicated "Black Fangs" to Saint Vitus and closed with one of the band's best songs, "Dirty South." In the middle, when the guitarist played his solo, it sounded like the term "shredding" had to have been invented for the guitar tone if played at a higher speed. As it was, it was more like "tearing" but without any compromise of the cutting and forceful and fiery quality of the riff.
Tom Murphy Weedeater at Bluebird Theater
Weedeater came armed for making massive sounds with what looked like a 4X15 bass cabinet and a Marshall full stack, not to mention Keith Kirkum's drum set situated at the front of the stage between the guitar rigs. After soundchecking, the band left the stage and came back on almost immediately while the theme from Sanford and Son played.
When Dave Shepherd started playing his guitar, and this may have been a function of being in the killzone directly in front of the stack, even before the bass got going, it was a similar sensation and quality of sound of seeing Jason and the Argonauts in the movie theater as a kid in the 1970s. It was colossal and, briefly anyway, awe-inspiring. The guy is a master of using feedback to his advantage and hitting chords or notes and letting feedback provide enough swell and impetus into the next bit of music he would be playing.
Kirkum hit with a lot of power but his style was like a great blues rock player: simple, spare and very in the pocket, even as he indulged some percussive flourishes the whole show. Dave Collins' tortured wail was animalistic, though he did slightly more conventional singing for the band's cover of "Gimme Back My Bullets" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. When he talked it made you think of Cronos of Venom. The Weedeater set ended strongly with the vast cataclysm of sound that was "Weed Monkey."
Personal Bias: Ever since finding out about Saint Vitus in Get in the Van by Henry Rollins, I've wanted to see the metal band that played shows regularly with Black Flag.
Random Detail: Ran into Grant Netzorg of In the Company of Serpents, Doug Wittner of Torso, former Westword scribe Tuyet Nguyen and Last Eyes at the show.
By the Way: Lillie: F-65 may have an odd title but it is vintage Saint Vitus.