A Place to Bury Strangers With the Orange and Creepoid Club Dada, Dallas Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Fool us once, winter, shame on us. Fool us twice, shame on you. Fortunately, when it came to New York shoegaze band A Place to Bury Strangers' gig at Club Dada, the second time was the charm on Tuesday night as they played their rescheduled show from Friday night. It was rainy, sure, but this time there was no snow to get in the way. Equally fortunately, for anyone who had been eager to lose their hearing for about three days or so, the night proved to be more than worth the wait.
The timing of the reschedule wasn't exactly a perfect momentum builder for APTBS, who had just released their latest album, Transfixation, last week. But no matter. They showed up with local band the Orange and Philadelphia-based noise outfit Creepoid in tow, and delivered their chaotic wall of sound in full force.
Soon enough, a tide of fog crept across the stage and quickly filled the entire club as APTBS prepared to decimate the crowd. Lead guitarist Oliver Ackermann embraced the stage with the most worn out guitar imaginable, but through the use of his signature, custom pedals, the wails his instrument produced were drenched in heavy reverb that could rip a gaping void in the stratosphere. Since, on this particular night, it was bassist Dion Lunadon's birthday, the band played with both the intensity of a first show and the immediacy of a farewell performance. If the crowd were a chess opponent, APTBS would have put them in checkmate from the get-go.
The psychedelic lights that projected over the group looked like they are resurrecting the Holy Ghost, but at the same time a strobe light flashed rapidly like a haunted house ride. For anyone who hasn't seen the band before it is as visceral as it is an aural experience. There isn't any band around that plays quite as loud as APTBS except for My Bloody Valentine, whose shows have infamously garnered widespread knowledge that you will either leave early because of the intensity of the sound or come prepared with earplugs. It was a complete sensory attack, but it was invigorating as well. The interplay between reverb-drenched guitars and intense fog, which at one point shrouded the entire club in obscurity, cannot be topped.
The three-piece band churns out punk tunes so loud that it's hard to imagine that it isn't actually a full orchestra producing all the noise. The sound system at Granada Theater sounded more crisp when they played there previously, and it was a surprise that Club Dada still had a roof by the end of the night after all the abuse the band dished out on it.
At one point, the band took a 180-degree turn, and drummer Robi Gonzalez doubled up as keyboardist, abandoning percussive duties in favor of programmed beats from a sequencer complete with electronic textures. The band visually cued this change with colored lasers that shot in every direction, both from the stage and from behind the crowd. Through the thicket of smoke, the club looked like some sort of laser tag battlefield.
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APTBS has been active for more than 10 years now and the band hasn't been afraid to delve into new musical territory. This is especially true for their new album and live show that backs the new material. As the show concluded, Oliver left with the parting words, "Party til' you die," which could easily be the mantra of their live shows as well. Returning to the foggy haze of the Dallas night only seemed to make a fitting conclusion to proceedings.
Earlier in the night, after the Orange, Creepoid took the stage. They played as if they were reviving the grunge-filled chaos of Sonic Youth circa '93, but with the finesse of mid-period Creation Records shoegaze acts like Swervedriver or Slowdive. The sound was full of fury, but the dual vocals of guitarist Sean Miller and bassist Anna Troxell soared like an airy wave that enveloped the listener in a blanket of sweet nothings.
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