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09/10/2012 : A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS - Review of the concert at Botanique in Brussels on 8th October 2012

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS

Review of the concert at Botanique in Brussels on 8th October 2012

Concert
NoisePost PunkShoegaze

[85/100]   
09/10/2012, Philippe BLACKMARQUIS

Sometimes, you'd better not forget your ear plugs when you go to a concert. A Place To Bury Strangers has the reputation to be "the loudest band in New-York", so I had my ear plugs with me! But eventually, the concert wasn't too loud. Most of the people who had already seen them play live before said that they have "softened" their sound in the last few years. Of course, APTBS remains one of the noisiest bands on the rock scene and the show had some really heavy, aggressive sounds.

After "Worship", the relatively "soft" title track from their last album, which opens the set, the band immediately indulges in the typical noise/shoegaze rock that made them famous. "To Fix The Gash In Your Head", from their first album, is somehow reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, a band for which they opened in the US in 2008. On "Ego Death", a very strong track from "Exploding Head", Olvier Ackermann, the singer/guitarist/mastermind of the band, manages to get some really insane sustain screams from his guitar while Dion Lunadon plays a very efficient distorted bass, all this backed by the huge drum beats from Robi Gonzalez.

The next song, the classic "I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadows Of Your Heart”, is one of the first highlights of the concert, especially when Ackermann takes the stroboscope lamp to hit the strings of his guitar. Then Dion Lunadon jumps down from the stage to play his instrument (I mean the bass) in the middle of the public. Later, Ackermann goes totally crazy and throws his guitar in the air. When it crashes on the ground on the stage, some people think it is broken but they should know that Ackermann always plays Fender Jaguar solid body guitars with a bolt-on neck that simply cannot be smashed. An amazing moment that you can watch in the following video, which includes several excerpts from the concert.

A little time to rest with the long and slow song "Dissolved", from "Worship", and the band plays "Keep Slipping Away". Again, it's a heavy, atmospheric wall of sound, a very original blend of psychedelic rock, shoegaze and space rock that evokes Jesus And The Marychain, of course, but also Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Bauhaus, NIN, House Of Love and The Soft Moon. On "Deadbeat", the pounding, hypnotic rhythm section allows Ackermann to experiment with his sound effects, most of them being effects he manufactures himself in his company "Death By Noise" (he has been making custom pedals for NIN, U2,...).

The last part of the concert included "Drill It Up", from the EP "Onwards To The Wall" (2012), on which Dion Lunedon takes the leading vocals. Then "Burning Plastic" allowed us to admire the super fast drumming of Robi Gonzales. Finally, the band played a long and psychedelic version of "Never Going Down", which ended in a hurricane of noises and screaming instruments.

During the concert, the public was astonishingly calm (maybe lobotomized by the noise?) but they shouted and whistled like crazy to get the band to come back. After a few minutes APTBS came back and started a long noise experimentation which led to the fantastic bass guitar riff of "You Are the One", from "Worship". The band played a perfect version of this song, you can watch it in the video below.

Unfortunately, APTBS didn't play some of their most famous songs, like "Into Your Heart", "So Far Away" or "Missing You" but as a whole, it was an awesome, ear-shattering concert, full of raw power and garage intensity. The band's performances are less noisy than before but it is a good thing because it allows the audience to (re)discover excellent songs and compositions, by one of the most interesting bands on the rock scene.


 

Philippe BLACKMARQUIS
09/10/2012


 

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