Live: Meek Is Murder Headline An Occasionally Headbanging Blowout At Public Assembly

Guess which member of Set Aflame has the most involved hair-care regimen. Pic by Dan.
Guess which member of Set Aflame has the most involved hair-care regimen. Pic by Dan.

Meek Is Murder/Set Aflame/Bandladeafy/Psycho Enhancer Public Assembly Tuesday, August 10

After the crushing disappointment of last week's canceled Destroyer 666 show, Tuesday night's affair at Brooklyn's Public Assembly provided some small amount of solace and relief. Though none of the bands fit the pure-metal bullet-belts-and-leather aesthetic of those sorely missed Aussie black-thrashers, each of the four acts managed to offer up some kind of musical extremity, be it brute force or mind-boggling bass wizardry.

Long Island's Psycho Enhancer, undeterred by their lack of a bassist (a job opportunity they advertised twice during the show) or the eight-person crowd, kicked off the evening with a few straightforward hardcore-punk jams about partying, fighting, and (my personal favorite topic) Wednesday Wing Night. They managed to get at least one person doing spin kicks in the middle of the crowd, which for NYC hardcore bands constitutes a win.

The bass noodlings audible as Bandladeafy tuned up hinted at some kind of squiggly tech-death outfit in the Braindrill vein, but as the set began no guitarist had materialized. Instead, bassist Jonny Germ and drummer Atif Haq played a form of high-speed drum 'n' bass that sounded like the bass trickery of Les Claypool grafted over the manic-rapped vocals of Faith No More. Metal it is not, but fans of music for musicians could do worse.

Set Aflame, who drove all the way up from Houston, provided the most traditional metallic instrumentation of the evening, pushing a collection of catchy, Swedish-inspired metalcore riffage and some enthusiastic windmilling. Their sound may be a few years past its artistic peak, and frontman Johnny Ybarra looks like he spends a little too much time on his hair, but they provided a welcome release for all my pent-up headbanging urges. Lose the skinny jeans and v-necks and we'll be alright.

Mike Keller, former Red Chord guitarist and current mastermind of Meek Is Murder (great name), looks pretty harmless, but holy jeez he can squeeze some pretty ugly (in a good way) sounds out of his guitar. MIM has gotten some pretty good press from NYC metal blog MetalSucks, and with good reason: As Keller and Co. squeal, blast, grind, and screech their way through their 15-minute set, they never forget to give the audience something to grasp onto even during a minute-long song: a sudden downtempo doomy riff, or a hint of melody. Keller's brand of caustic, spasming grind is the perfect soundtrack for a seizure. The good kind.

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