The rain actually seems appropriate this morning, even if it is coming down way harder than it needs to to set a somber, elegiac mood. Yesterday just kept ratcheting up to the buzzsaw blur of Liturgy and Gang Gang Dance's slinky, ritualistic dance party, and today feels like it should be spent with some quieter music.
I took a short break after Dirty Projectors, then headed back to the Old City for Konk Pack. The improv trio--a Frankenstein monster keyboard, drums, and a weird inside-out elctric guitar, laid out on a tabletop like a lap steel--started slow, and the group's free playing takes some orientation, but a third of the way in it started to click. By the end it was a beautiful swirl of noise, playful, just this side of chaotic, and a thrilling example of what Big Ears still offers besides marquee indie rock.
At this point I'd decided that the Big Ears Annex had been fruitful enough that I was just going to stay in the Old City. I skipped some potentially rewarding, even lifetime-enriching-type shows--Terry Riley's pipe organ concert, William Basinski and Ben Frost, Bang on a Can and Riley at the Tennessee, throw in Joanna Newsom if you want to--for Pilot Light's metal lineup. Warband's retro thrash sounded tighter than it did the last time I saw them (and it's fun to pick out the band's obvious influences--I spotted riffs straight from Metallica's "Whiplash," "Seek and Destroy," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls," as well as a double-time coda copped from Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name"). Argentinum Astrum has added substantial black metal influence to their doom/sludge, presumably since the arrival of new bassist Emily Robinson, formerly of Tenderhooks. An interesting departure, but I think I preferred the old Burning Witch style more. Something to watch.
Warband and A.A. brought in lots of people for Liturgy's second show of the day. The band just kills--great songs, tight as a drum, and the sight of cherubic-looking singer/guitarist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix shrieking his lungs out is something else. I really do appreciate that Big Ears recognizes the genuine artistic merit of metal.