A few years back, after my best friend and I started somewhat obsessing over bands like Wolf Eyes, Fuck Buttons and Black Dice, we coined a new moniker for the experimental/noise genre: Dudes With Gear.
These aren't "bands" in the traditional sense; these are dudes armed with sequencers, samplers, delay pedals and a grab bag of instruments. The end result is a chaotic and murky brew of noise—often assaultive, sometimes melodic and always LOUD. Well, last week, Black Dice proved themselves to be the ultimate Dudes With Gear.
Locals Sleep Driver, a four-piece combo, started the night off superbly. Each of the songs throughout their 45-minute set was like a mighty instrumental bird in flight: taking off quietly and tautly flying to great heights before spiraling down with ease. Jeremy Peters' searing and often jangly guitar licks were the secret weapon—Sleep Driver isn't your run-of-the-mill, post-rock Mogwai clone. Sadly, this was their last show. Good job, fellas. I look forward to your future endeavors.
In front of a wall of amps that would make Spinal Tap jealous, Black Dice settled in behind three stations covered with a motley assemblage of gear. After buttons were pushed and knobs were twisted, a pounding, throbbing 808-drum beat bombed the audience into submission. I've never seen so many fingers go into so many ears at once. Like James Chance conducting a traffic-jam orchestra on the autobahn, the three Dudes With Gear unleashed their brand of mutant punk disco for more than an hour—and never once did Black Dice falter.
While their infamous abrasiveness is still there, it's taken a bit of a back seat to let an almost-motorik beat guide them. There were no stops or gaps between songs; they just collided like a Carl Stalling-conducted cartoon. On the rare tracks with vocals, Eric Copeland barked like an auctioneer conducting business in a war zone, all yips and yelps blending into the white noise.
Their new single "Pigs" was the definite showstopper. The jerking rhythms pulled the remaining audience into a mass of wriggling worms. With fingers in their ears, of course.