Few things are more frightening than the rising crest of a teenage mob. Some combination of loud music, imbalanced hormones and postadolescent rage flips a dangerous switch: One minute it's just a bunch of excited kids, and the next minute they're a mechanism of senseless destruction, a lethal hurricane of flailing arms, stomping legs and flying fists.
Something about the ruckus of San Diego quartet The Locust triggers that transformation. When the band rolled into Detroit for the first time, throngs of hoodied kids packed a tiny gallery space to check them out. By the time the last note tumbled out of the speakers, these same cherub-faced suburban teens had torn the guts out of a grand piano, ripped frames off the wall and left the room like a war zone. In a word: awesome.
The story might sound like a nervous mom's nightmare, but you have to sympathize with these kids--it's rock rebellion taken to the ultimate, apocalyptic conclusion. The Locust makes it easy to lose control. On an active night, they'll take the stage in their bizarre, bug-eyed uniforms and blow through more than 20 songs in less than 15 minutes--each one a seizure of barely organized rhythms, delivered at a ludicrous clip. But even calling them songs might be a stretch, since they lack both discernible structure and melodic intention. They explode in fits and starts of metallic, nonsensical guitar riffage, machine-gun drums and the vocal shriek of a coked-up schizophrenic. It's probably best filed in your iPod as prog rock, but perhaps better regarded as riot music.
The Locust performs at Trees on February 18.
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