In Waste Of Paint, our writer/artist team of Jamie Peck and Debbie Allen will review goings-on about town in words and images.
What is it about the area around South 2nd Street and Kent Avenue that makes it a magnet for good D.I.Y. venues? Is it the tidal pull of the moon? Some type of harmonic convergence? Plain old coincidence? Whatever the cause, I really like being able to bounce back and forth between Glasslands, 285 Kent and Death By Audio. May they never be purchased by developers and turned into garishly lit pharmacies.
Friday night, we hit up Glasslands for a disappointing performance from a newly drab and Enya-esque High Places before beating a retreat to DBA for Parts and Labor’s third-to-last show ever. Following a fast and loud set from the pleasantly screamy Zulus, scene stalwarts (and costume aficionados) Knyfe Hyts took the stage. Although their getups are fairly minimal, metal signifiers like leather pants, spooky masks, pink fishnet arm-warmers, and (God bless him) drummer Shahin Motia’s tie-dye jumpsuit/hooded cape combo both stood out visually from the sea of plaid and Converse and let the crowd know this band is not a self-serious one.
Containing members of Oneida, Ex-Models, and Pterodactyl, Knyfe Hyts is a chance for three longtime friends (very longtime, in the case of brothers Shahin and Shahryar Motia) to get stoney and jam out in the company of each others’ virtuosity. Shahryar and Zach Lehrhoff took turns playing strange, sick, pedal-aided solos while the other held down the riff; meanwhile, Shahin pounded the drums with impressive skill. A Judas Priest cover especially pleased the crowd. In a show of love for the soon-to-belate, still-great Parts and Labor, Zach dedicated all his leads to them, while his bass lines in turn went out to “the movement.”
Next, Parts and Labor performed songs off their 2007 album Mapmaker to a packed house. One thing I’ve always admired about this band is their ability to balance melodies with noise, and Mapmaker represented a huge step towards perfecting that project. Guitarist BJ Warshaw and processor/keyboardist Dan Friel’s strong, lilting tenors would be equally at home fronting, say, The Hold Steady (or maybe even some sort of Irish drinking-song troupe), but placed over a storm of frantic drums, squalling guitars, and the curiously bagpipe-like processors, they create an inviting way in. These guys have been playing together for almost a decade, and it shows in the way they ebb and flow through various orgasmic noise crescendos as one unit. In a rare occurrence for a D.I.Y. show, the audience demanded, and received, an encore.
Saturday, we went to 285 Kent to see the aptly named neo-psych ensemble The Psychic Ills. Although the genre has not evolved much since the ’70s, this group is known for pushing its boundaries. Unfortunately, their latest material proved a little mellower than usual, as did their stage show; the four normally colorful longhairs elected to play in the dark. There’s something to be said for the art of the hypnotic, slow-burning swirler, but I kept wishing they’d attack the material with the same dark brutality that first caught my attention in 2005. They did deliver a feedback-laden cacophony to close things out, and we nodded our heads in appreciation. In general, though, I wish they’d tip the balance back in favor of the witchy insanity that’s served them so well; a little more psilocybin, and a little less THC.