While Professor Bunkum was sipping wine with Sabbath in Griffith Park, I was in Eagle Rock listening to three bands off the Southern Lord roster: SUNN O))), THE ACCUSED, and EAGLE TWIN. The Center for Arts is one of my favorite venues, and an ideal setting for this show. As you can see in these amazing photos (it was pitch black in there during Sunn O)))) from Losanjealous, it is a beautiful room with high ceilings and good acoustics. It is also situated in close proximity to some of the best taco trucks in LA. Shows there are put on by the people from FYF Fest, and are typically indie rock, which may have explained why the sound guy played Paul Westerberg's "High Time", the Shins "Caring is Creepy", and Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" in succession right before THE ACCUSED's set. Needless to say, the last tune nearly pushed the band over the edge, and violence was narrowly averted. Whether the sound guy was trying to provoke that reaction is unclear.
The scene before SUNN O))) made me want to burst out laughing. Lots of kids, probably the curious from nearby Occidental College (Obama's first school), filled the room. The crowd was packed in, pushing forward towards the stage like this was any rock show. A guy moves through the crowd desperate to give away earplugs. There are some takers, but I'm convinced that people are not prepared. These kids have no idea what is about to hit them, right? One boy brought his dad. There are naive-looking girls here who probably have never even been fucked in the ass. They don't know pain. Well, tonight is the night. Push those plugs in as far as you can - this will still hurt. But I was wrong. Sure, there were a few casualties, but most proved resistant to the aural assault. In fact, they thrived off it. It was exhilirating. Though, it must be said, the presence of Attila made for a different SUNN O))) show than I've experienced before (most notably, the Echo show when I was distracted by the sensation that blood was flowing from my ears). His vocals required lapses in the drone, providing some rare relief to the eardrums. But, more importantly, he's a strangely and powerfully charismatic man. I've seen him thrice this year in three different acts and each time I was competley absorbed by his presence. Even barely lit, he controlled the room. But enough about SUNN O))). There's nothing I can say to help them. Greg Anderson had fans lined up to get signatures like we were at a Stars Wars convention long before he even donned the robes.
So let me say a few words about EAGLE TWIN, the band that opened the show while the sun was still out, and the crowd was still funneling in. All the way from Salt Lake City, a city that needs a metal scene, but one barely exists. The band is helmed by Gentry Densley, the core member of the collective known as ICEBURN that fused basically every style of music into a sound that still stands on its own. As a two-piece, EAGLE TWIN is obviously more limited in sound simply due to the lack of instrumentation. But Gentry's ability to make an impact remains unchanged. Along with drummer Tyler Smith, they have crafted a debut album of twisted doom (The Unkindness of Crows) that, like Earth, evokes the rawness of the American west. My girl is a big fan of Jonny Greenwood's score for There Will Be Blood. And it's as good as any in a long time. But, to my demented ears, The Unkindness of Crows is the better fit, and that movie was undoubtedly an inspiration (see Track 3, "Birds of Black Hot Fire"). Most people get caught up on Gentry's vocal style, which understandably draws comparisons to Waits. But ultimately music like this lives and dies by its riffs, and judging by the head movement of the Eagle Rock crowd, the slow and meandering offerings by EAGLE TWIN were a winner.