THE WARLOCKS, THE MORNING AFTER GIRLS, GLISS
Wednesday, Aug. 26
Intense feedback, scintillating distortion, delicate chord-bending and heavy reverb: These are the elements that define post-rock and shoegaze sounds. The Wednesday, Aug. 26, show at Congress captured the idiosyncratic beauty and chaos of the genre to the point of making me weak in the knees.
Gliss, a Los Angeles trio, have visited Tucson at least three times in the last year. They sensibly jump on tours suited to their brand of fuzzed-out rock. Onstage, it's difficult to tell if the centerpiece of their sound is the impeccable guitar work by David Reiss or the semi-whiny, yearning vocals of Martin Klingman. Drummer/bass player Victoria Cecilia's addition to the normally stunning vocal harmonies was disappointingly muted. Highlights of their performance included a masterful guitar solo on "29 Acts of Love," as well as "Morning Light," the opening track from their most recent release, Devotion Implosion.
Throw Brian Jonestown Massacre, Radiohead and the Jesus and Mary Chain into a blender, and the end result is the elegant brilliance of the Morning After Girls. They opened with the powerful anthem "The Best Explanation," from their new album, Alone, and the luscious, whispery harmonies delivered by guitarists/songwriters Sacha Lucashenko and Martin Sleeman surpassed any live vocal achievement in recent memory. Sleeman's slide work on the guitar was exquisite, and the title track from the new album revealed layer upon layer of guitar, a smooth yet catchy melody, and an inescapable hook. Their live show takes their recorded material to new heights. Somehow both delicate and powerful, watching these Australian natives play was one the high points of my concert-going year.
The Warlocks, based in Los Angeles, epitomized the mind-altering sonic depths of psychedelic rock. Through the red lights and heavy smoke, blistering guitar emanated from bandleader Bobby Hecksher. For more than a decade, the Warlocks have seen band members come and go, but it's clear that their current tour lineup is solid. Whereas only some of their recorded tracks are listenable on an ongoing basis, their live show is something to behold. The din of their droning instrumentation and unforgiving dirges doesn't allow focus on much else—the audience was fixated.