NXNE Review: OM, Liturgy, USA Out Of Vietnam, June 19, Opera House

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While hanging out at The Opera House before the OM/Liturgy/USA Out Of Vietnam show, I experienced a weird marketing related moment. I was leaning against a wall in the corner when some dude with a thick Italian (?) accent approaches, says he’s with a marketing company, and asks if he can take a picture of his company’s poster for some car. I shrug, start to move, then he says that no, I can stay and be in the picture. Um, no thanks guy, I really don’t want to be in your pic. He then proceeded to snap several other shots of the car ad on the wall. With the flash on, no less. I found it rather odd. Why does he need to take photos of the poster in the first place? Wouldn’t they know what their poster looks like already? Was this to prove to his marketing firm, that yes, their posters have in fact made it out? And why would he need several pictures of a poster in a relatively empty corner of a venue surrounded by a few random metalheads? I got the impression that this guy was no Don Draper.

Speaking of marketing, USA Out Of Vietnam started off their set with a bit of good natured false advertising: “We are from Montreal. We’re called Voivod. We’re really pleased to be playing with Grimes tonight. It’s very rare to see Grimes and Voivod together.” I’m not entirely sure … in this scenario, is Liturgy Grimes? The Montreal band’s set encompassed a lot of different sounds and came across at times like Neurosis with a more pronounced shoegaze/post-rock influence. It was heavy and beautiful.

Following them were Liturgy, whose bandleader Hunter Hunt-Hendrix once described their sound as “transcendental black metal” and while some may scoff at that term, it’s something of an apt description of their sound. Hunt-Hendrix and his bandmates use repetition of riffs in their music until it becomes almost hypnotic, which I suppose could theoretically lead to a transcendental state. A standout of their set was “Kel Valhaal,” which on record sounds a bit dull, but really comes alive in concert, acheiving an almost Swans-like quality. The band had some issues with the sound at first, with Hunt-Hendrix complaining about the mix efter going through a fairly thorough soundcheck. His vocals did not sound good during that first song, but they seemed to rectify that soon after (possibly by putting a lot of effects on his vocals).

And finally, the headliner for the evening took to the stage and took things in a different direction. OM also made good use of repetition in their music, but seemed heavy in a different way than the two openers. With simple drawn out riffs, the psych/stoner rock outfit definitely adhere to the “less is more” school of songwriting and it works like a charm for them. Adding texture to the core bass and drums sound on which the band was  founded, multi-instrumentalist Robert Lowe proved himself the MVP of the night, taking their droning stoner jams to the next level.

All in all, a satisfying night with all three bands on the bill immersing the listener completely in the music.

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Posted on by Paul in North By Northeast

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