All photos by Clint Miller
Saturday, I went to see Athens based, Cinemechanica at 529 in East Atlanta. I had never seen them live before, but had heard that cardiac arrest and brain aneurysms were key components to their live show. There was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity like that even if my life, or more realistically, my ears, were at stake.
The first band to play, Lazer/Wulf, was a three-piece, and my expectations were low. They looked like typical frat-guys who decided to ditch the tailgate party and start a band that wears warrior-style face paint. Although, it was the fact that they were the first out of three unknown bands to play that led to my low expectations, not their appearance. I was pleasantly surprised as soon as they took the stage and began to play. I found myself compelled to move with the music and stare open-jawed at the guitarist who was playing notes faster than I previously thought was humanly possible.
They alternate between traditional metal and speed metal, although they make the sound their own. I was surprised at how well they sounded live while having only three members. The guitarist was the best part of the show via getting the crowd amped and making strange faces, although, what really helped was the fact that he is insanely proficient at playing his instrument. The bassist and guitarist both entered the crowd several times while playing extremely technical solos. The only drawback to seeing this band live was the semi-annoying fan-base that had followed them from Athens. (I knew they were from Athens because every time one of the bands mentioned they were from Athens, multiple people shouted “wooo! Athens, Yeah!” )About 2/3 into their set, an impromptu mosh pit broke out, reminding me why I stay away from 90% of all metal shows. Luckily this was the ‘friendly’ mosh pit and not the ‘punch everything that moves’ type pit. Still, though, its never fun to have beer spilled on your face.
The next band to play was a four-piece called Manray. They immediately drew my interest with their slightly unorthodox stage setup. The drummer was positioned in front of the band and actually off of the stage. Their style flirts with the line between math rock and metal. Their music had more dissonant notes and vocals (both sung and screamed) and less “hardcore” style breakdowns than Lazer/Wulf.
While I did enjoy their music, it did seem to jump all over the place most of the time. They would benefit from tightening up their sound and lending more cohesiveness to the songs. While three different band members sang/screamed, I really didn’t enjoy any of them. For one thing, none of the vocals were loud enough to stand out amongst the dueling guitars, thumping bass, and maniac drumming. They also had a few instances where one of the guitarist’s chords kept coming out and disrupting the flow of the music. Despite their shortcomings, they still put on an impressive live show.
By the time Cinemechanica came on stage, the small venue was totally packed. I smiled at the realization that nobody would be able to mosh in this sardine can environment. The lead singer, Andrew Pruett, prefaced their show with some light-hearted banter with the crowd, which seemed at odds with the ferocity of their music. I would have shrugged it off if they hadn’t resumed this in between every single song. Their sound could easily be classified as math rock, but they definitely bring their own twist to the genre. Their musical timing was perfect. While they were playing, I felt like I had been ripped from the ground by a tornado only to be set down again softly at the end of the song.
After about the 3rd or 4th song I became annoyed by Pruett’s amateur standup-comedy. Their songs are short and brutal sonic bursts of energy, but the rhythm of the show was really hindered with the unusual breaks between songs. This may have been due to the physical capabilities of their drummer, who looked like he was going to die after each song. I found myself wondering if, ironically, the drummer was going to keel over after cardiac arrest induced by his own playing. The band could have easily squeezed in at least two additional songs had they wanted to since the breaks in between were as long as the songs themselves. Yet, while their show suffered from this, it was not ruined. Their auditory assault was incredible. The crowd was totally mesmerized as well.
If you are into having your ears melted and face destroyed by precision bursts of guitar, drums, and bass then I would definitely recommend seeing Cinemechanica as well as Lazer/Wulf and Manray live. This lineup fit together seamlessly, starting off with a full yet stripped down three-piece then adding texture and precision playing as the show went on.
By the end of the show I had already forgotten about the mosh pit, and well most everything else that had been on my mind previously. I remember walking out of 529 in a sort of daze; I had even forgotten where my car was parked. While I did not suffer cardiac arrest or brain aneurysms, my inner ear equipment was most certainly damaged. For two days the sound in my life was eclipsed by that high pitched ringing sound. Sometimes, though, that’s just the price one has to pay for a mind melting blitzkrieg of music.
- Posted by Joe Ennis on February 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm