A Place To Bury Strangers
It's a freezing cold evening in Belfast city; the night air almost gnawing at you for daring to step outside the house. For those 25 or 30 who were brave enough, total sonic annihilation would surely warm their hearts (and minds)?
A Place to Bury Strangers are a relatively new band to the UK but they have been knocking around Brooklyn for the best part of 5 years, killing music and dressing sounds in oscillated feedback, wowing audiences weekly and becoming coined as the "loudest band in New York". No mean feat in a city that could almost be described as being saturated with new bands and music. Having caught them at Manhattan's Cake Shop in 2007, I already knew the potential that stood before us.
Taking to the stage in complete silence at about 10pm, the coy, almost shy demeanour displayed by the band reflected the mostly empty venue but nonetheless the guitars layered with feedback and distortion gently built and with the Limelight in almost complete darkness, the three silhouettes on stage ripped a gash in the murky silence and we began our journey.
Now, it would be very easy to pigeon hole APTBS. The obvious connotations are there: Jesus and Mary Chain, Joy Division, MBV... But the point I'd like to make is that there is so much more here. As opposed to sounding just like the aforementioned, this is 3 musically inspired people making great new music that 100% stands out on its own.
Tracks like 'Don't Think Lover' and 'To Fix the Gash in Your Head' are clear standouts from the night but with bassist Jono MOFO never allowing his guitar any let up, the set melts together fantastically with singer Oliver Ackermann only ever stepping away from the mic to thrash his guitar around wildly, twiddling knob after knob to warp the already destructive tendency this band creates.
The fact is, this band play bloody loud and as the set closes, the lights drop and a building feedback loop is accompanied by a single strobe on the stage, the band almost coaxing the noise to grow and mutate. As the crescendo peaks, the whole affair is completely destroyed; Ackermann, like a possessed child completely eradicates his guitar of strings while spinning wildly around the stage, totally lost in the complete and utter obliteration of sound as we know it.
Ten minutes later a single drone sounds across an empty stage, mics and guitars strewn randomly, the audience both enlightened and bewildered. One thing is for sure though, there's a smile on the face of every one of them.