Thursday, April 26, 2012

Billy Castro, Black Tar Prophet, and Brother Ares at Cafe Coco

Another show, another review. This time, instead of going back to Cafe Coco after a killer show at the End or Exit/In, the show was right there at the Cafe! Convenient. I can't remember the last time I had dinner and a show. I had a mushroom bacon burger and vanilla stout, and split a Godiva cheesecake with none other than the lovely and talented Ms. McKenzie Royster between acts. Delicious, but expensive. I'd give them an 8/10.

Anyway, first up was Billy Castro.
First impressions are important, and aside from noting how nice and chill these guys were, I noticed that Bryan Baker's guitar's had "Love", "Evol", and "I fucked your boyfriend" stickered onto them. That alone should make you curious enough to come out and see these guys next time they play anywhere near you. Beyond intriguing guitar stickerage, these guys were weird in the most awesome way. Vocals were all over the place! Both Becca Baker and Bryan Baker (Married? Family? I guess both is possible in Tennessee...;) spoke and screamed, but never together at the same time. If Bryan was speaking or screaming, then Becca was singing. If Becca was speaking, then Bryan was probably noodling or riffing on guitar. The vocals were sometimes arrhythmic, and the combinations were fantastic. I feel like with these guys, there are just these little parts where I just want to say "oh yeah, and then they did this! Oh, and then they did that! Shit was nuts!" Drummer Patrick Gallagher was nuts, Josh Cochran's basslines were groovy, and they even brought out a conga drum and Becca and Josh each drummed on it for a little while. And Becca even busted out the maracas!

The guitar was crunchy and distorted. I'm no guitar expert, but I want to say that some of Mr. Baker's chosen chords and riffs were unorthodox at the very least. They sounded weird, but in an absolutely cool way. The bass was funky and clean; I especially enjoyed the top string goodness of the last song of the set. The drums were plethoric. That Patrick Gallagher is a beast, moving his arms all kinds of crazy ways.  And the vocals... man. I can't say enough about how the vocals worked and meshed together. They were a little reminiscent of local legend Jesse Mowery's new band Nut Collector (though I admittedly have not heard enough of them by far).

Like I mentioned above, the last song (called "We Will Not Run Out of Bricks", from their upcoming release "Make Love Like War") started out with a spotlight on the top bass string, and built and built from there, finally ending in a closed-fist-pounding on guitar freakout. It was awesome, but I almost wish someone would have just screamed, or maybe all of them screamed in unison. Such an epic build-up deserved as big of an apex as possible! With amps echoing and lights dimming, these guys left me wanting more.

These guys are heavy, loud, distorted, and definitely metal. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

Oh, and a word of advice. Make sure you add "knoxville" and/or "band" if you decide to google these guys. These crafty motherfuckers, I found while writing this in my very christian school's library, seemed to have named themselves after a FtM transexual pornstar. 

Streaming things!

Next up was Black Tar Prophet..
Mis Amigos! These guys are fun as hell. Though it wasn't quite as destructive as the last time I saw them, it was still a good show. They toned it down a little and only brought a pair of speakers this time though, and I definitely missed the effect that their fully constructed speaker wall brings. Thankfully, their groovy, heavy, hypnotic, cannabis-inspired riff worship was as powerful as ever. Despite a few mishaps and a knocked over stand or two, these guys were great, and so relaxed! Mark sat down at one point, and even laid down on stage til close to the end. Their subterranean level of fucks given translates almost perfectly through their music, and if you can move to the groove and get into it, you'll find that all of your troubles and worries will slowly start to slide further into your periphery, and that nothing really matters. I heard talk afterwards that they'd essentially played their set backwards, much to their vexation. I personally enjoyed it. It was like seeing a whole new setlist, almost. And if Led Zeppelin and others hide Satanic lyrics recorded backwards, what happens when BTP plays their shit backwards? Do they summon Jesus?

In any case, it was a fantastic, loose, and relaxed performance, complete with Sleep and Eyehategod moments throughout.

Album release party June23!

Headlining this one-show tour was the always amazing Brother Ares.

I need to stop smoking, if only to stop coming in late for shows. I walked in after a puff to find Blake and Gore jamming out a new tune called "Vestiges of the Crow King". I hadn't missed very much, and thank Lucifer: this song was fantastic! Blake is... singing? I think I'd probably put it closer to "shouting with a bit of melody" than real "singing". Awesome, delayed echoey-guitar midsection. After this, they played fan favorites such as "DoomEagle of the Apocalypse", "Already Dead", and one or two others. They closed with another one, called "Serpent's Twin: [something something]". I wish I'd taken more notes about it! My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I think it was pretty fantastic. Hard to find an Ares Bros track that I don't thoroughly enjoy though. I'll definitely have to hear this one again in order to make any real judgment about it. Overall, a fantastic show, but definitely too short! Those dang Cafe Coco neo-con hatemongering hardasses must have said to cut it short. These guys deserved an encore.

Look for their upcoming EP "Devourer of Worlds" to be reviewed here as soon as it's released!

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