Saturday, March 29, 2008
Film School at Spaceland
It was an extremely busy Thursday night as a plethora of bands were in town. Some of the options included Vampire Weekend at the El Rey, Bon Iver at the Echo, Eskimohunter and Low Vs. Diamond at the Troubadour and the Henry Clay People at the Detroit Bar. I still had to pledge my allegiance to Film School who brought along Airiel and Famous Amos. This billing would rival Holy F*ck and A Place To Bury Strangers as one of best show pairings of the concert year.
I had heard that Airiel used some an assortment of Death By Audio Pedals in their twin guitar assault so I had high expectations in the guitar tone department. Airiel exceeded these expectations with a sonic wall of sound as expansive as the Great Wall of China. Airiel recently released their album "The Battle of Sealand" which soared into constant rotation on my ipod after seeing their set. Airiel is led by Jeremy Wrenn (Vocals/Guitars) who has a characteristic vocal delivery somewhere in between Ken Andrews of Failure and Stephen Brodsky of Cave-In(Antenna era). Airiel started off with a rocket blast of "Thinktank" which had moments of Year Of The Rabbit, Stone Roses and My Bloody Valentine which immediately appealed to my ears. "You Kids Should Know Better" was another canon blast of soaring guitars and sonic acrobatics as Jeremy unleashed a tidal wave wah drenched solo. It immediately made sense that Ulrich Schnauss made a guest appearance on their album for the track "Sugar Crystals" adding his vast soundscape magic. I immediately signed up to see them again in San Diego.
Film School were as tight as ever fresh off their blitzkrieg of high profile shows at SXSW. Film School continues to up the ante with an intense visual projection show that augments their already massive sound. I was tricked by the opening squalls of noise and feedback as the band slowly transitioned the sheets of noise into the driving tune "Compare". The visuals were a kaledoscope of swirling colors intermittently mixed in with altered live footage of the band members various instruments. I have seen many Film School shows and this was quickly moving to one of the top performances after just a few songs. "Sick Hipster Nursed By A Suicide Girl" continues to blow my mind and eardrums. Film School should put out a live CD with a few new tracks to amplify the buzz surrounding their live shows. Greg Bertens (Vocals/Guitars) was intensely focused during the performance and would wildly swing his Fender Jazzmaster around for cascades of feedback and noise. Greg seemed to be teetering on the verge of insanity by almost destroying his guitar but it was more exciting to see Greg walk the fine line of insanity and compelling performance. Lorelei Plotczyk (Bass) had her Fender Mustang bass growling for the intro of "Lectric". Dave Dupuis (Guitars) was all over stage holding up his G&L guitar at various points while ferociously strumming his guitar. Greg introduced "He's a Deep Deep Lake" as a song they haven't played in awhile and I couldn't have been happier as it was a much noisier and dense version compared to their Spaceland version way back in August of 2007. I was glad it would only be a two day wait until I would see them again in San Diego.
Famous Amos from the streets of Brooklyn had the difficult task of filling up the late slot at Spaceland which can be pretty rough. Spaceland had morphed into a ghost town but I was rewarded for my diligence. I was impressed by Jason Amos's guitar setup that included a Death By Audio Fuzz War and Interstellar Overdrive Supreme. If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a slight guitar pedal nerd so it didn't take long to identify Matt Conboy (Drums) banging on the drums as one of the pedal makers at Death By Audio. I remember seeing Matt in the DVD "Fuzz: The Sound that Revoultionized the World" when they did a spot on Death By Audio. I did enjoy one of their tracks "Our Modern Houses" which had hints of Archers of Loaf sprinkled with the Pixies and Sonic Youth. I didn't see any recorded stuff for sale but will keep an eye out if they come back to the West Coast.