Pitted Out

Painting the Whitehouse blank amid the grind and noise

Dodging Friday's Northsix show to catch Whitehouse's Mr. Mark E. Bean power electronics along with Saturday's scrubbier Knitting Factory crowd should've made good sense, but the fuckers canceled. Still, anyone familiar with the Brits' 25-year reign in fuzz knows two nights in a row's pushing things. A shame, though—their slinky, scowling new Asceticists 2006, would've translated wonderfully into live earaches. At least Chinatown's proximity provided squishy fake chicken.

According to the band's website, the duo arrived late to soundcheck, and were ignored by the sound guy. The venue provided no announcement beyond a scrawled cancellation on the hallway's bulletin board. Despite the presence of old-school tastemaker Kyle Lapidus's stunning noise-beard, scree shows are attracting youngish, meeker crowds. Still, beer was served in riot-safe plastic cups instead of bottles. The most violent moment? A dissipated goth guy sighed audibly.

Burroughs-quoting Virginia grinders Pig Destroyer generated an emotional pit cross-genre style, teaming with Boston-area Secret Diary, a/k/a Jessica Rylan and Donna Parker, who drenched the thrash with twisting electro craziness, reinscribing hollow vocalizations as churning undertows. Bespeckled Rylan's nerd-ball dance to Terrifyer's tales of bound brutality stole the show. (That and the fact that guitarist and Agoraphobic Nosebleed mastermind Scott Hull resembles the host of Monster Garage.) When the drummer tossed sticks, the set transitioned into full-on all-girl knob turning. Some impatient schlep extended his middle finger for the duration. Maybe he was expecting Primus.

After a lengthy break, Wolf Eyes entered "from the depths of hell," a/k/a Ann Arbor. A friend called the ensuing mosh "a pit of defeat." He was right. Despite adding Hair Police's Mike Connelly, there's less rock, more empty fist-pumping. The boys seem to miss Hanson Records honcho Aaron Dilloway, who moved to Nepal with his Ph.D.-researching wife.

Perhaps it was how he gummed that contact mic? How he crashed that gong just so? In his absence, yowler Nathan Young's grown skinnier, while fellow gong-smacker John Olson plumps. A theory: The latter's eating all the throbbing gristle and turning it into sonic diarrhea?

Despite an enjoyable encore paced by caustic sinkholes, the set's breezy Bill Clinton–as-Squiggy jazz and plodding generalities transformed Wolf Eyes's usually taut black-magic vomit into meandering bitch's stew. At the 3/4 point a woman to my left demanded they "say something relevant." If that's too much, dudes, at least play something relevant.

 
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