Ear protection: One of these days we're going to realize just how important it is before we're trying to go to sleep with a monster ring in our ears. Ah well, fuck it -- Wednesday night's six-band metal onslaught at The Muse was worth a little tinnitus! Maybe even a lot of tinnitus. Actually, if you don't mind us asking, are you talking? We see your lips moving but all we hear is SQUEEEEEEEE. What was that? Huh? We can't ... ah, nevermind, we don't care what you're saying anyway. The portion of The Spin's multiple personality disorder that has all the metal cred couldn't make it to the show, so the petulant acid-casualty part of our persona had to cover. In other words, don't expect a lot of references to obscure Eastern European MiniDisc-only albums, or adjectives with umlauts and whatnot.
Let us start by saying Across Tundras fucking rule. Holy. Fucking. Shit. There's something about their grinding psychedelia-meets-hill-country blues-metal that makes all of the pleasure centers in our acid-fried brain perk up -- maybe it's the dueling guitar shredding or maybe it's the Jesus fish-shaped tambourine. Whatever it is, we like it. Which brings us to our one big complaint for the night: The Muse's ATM was broken. We're rarely in the mood or the money to buy merch, but last night we had plenty of both we just couldn't get the machine to give it to us. Sorry, bands.
Up next were Junius from Boston, who were pretty much the low point of the night, by which we mean they were only awesome, instead of super-duper awesome. There was something about the singer that reminded us of Bauhaus' Peter Murphy fronting Hum, only way heavier than either of those bands, and it just didn't quite click the way we were hoping it would. We maybe would have preferred a little more growling, but whatever. What we really would have preferred was a longer set. Maybe it was just us, but it seemed like all of the changeovers on Wednesday night were longer than the sets themselves. Granted, there was a lot of equipment to set up (the amp stack to band member ratio for the night was something like 2.5 to 1) but dammit if we couldn't watch each of these bands play longer. Local favorites Evil Bebos were, unsurprisingly, bad-motherfucking-ass. There's something about their use of three vocalists that make us think about what the Beach Boys would have sounded like if the devil ever called in Mike Love's contract. Hmm. ...
Minnesota's Battlefields were another unexpected surprise -- we hadn't done our research beforehand, so catching their combination of drone psyche and brutal sludge was an unexpected delight. Also eye-opening? That all the out-of-town bands looked like metal dudes -- tight pants, black T-shirts, greasy hair -- while the Nashville kids all looked like a wayward bowling team or an IT department run amok. It's not a criticism -- we happen to live in a poorly-attired glass house ourselves -- just an observation that made us kind of chuckle. Battlefields were followed by U.S. Christmas, whose debut album Eat the Low Dogs has been on repeat at Spin HQ for a while now. With two guitarists, two drummers, a bass player, an electric violinist and a guy with face tattoos and hand percussion, the Hawkwind-isms of the album turn into tsunamis of heavy psych during live performances. Don't miss 'em next time they come through town -- this is the second time we've seen them in the last year and they're only getting better.
The night closed with Black Cobra, whose latest album Chronomega has been ruling our roost all week long -- well, except for when we're listening to Feather and Stone, or Bestial or ... you get the picture. Needless to say, we were amped to see them even after standing around for something like four-and-a-half hours. Maybe they noticed the dwindling crowd's flagging energy, but the guitar-drums duo kicked it into overdrive, playing one of the fastest, most energetic sets of the night. Cobra drummer Rafael Martinez is a sight to be seen -- all power, accuracy and speed without ever being too technical. We'd put that dude toe-to-toe with any drummer in town if we weren't so averse to watching our locals lose. Guitarist Jason Landrian is no slouch either -- it was a full-on shredfest of epic power sludge, and we were so glad that we had made it to that point. We're going to cross our fingers and hope that they come back soon despite last night's sorta iffy attendance.