Sunday, December 19, 2010


I’ve been pestering my friend Evil Mike for a couple years now to take me to a concert of metal music; I finally managed to make a show last night, catching the band Agalloch, which features Evil’s friend, Don Anderson on guitar; I don’t know about the genre in general, but I’m totally a fan now of this group in particular.

They were so good they make me want to be a better person.

I’m not sure how you’re supposed to characterize their music; Wikipedia says, “Agalloch performs a progressive and avant-garde style of folk metal that encompasses an eclectic range of tendencies including neofolk, post-rockm black metal and doom metal;” that seems about right. They reminded me of King Crimson more than anything, and I mean that both descriptively and normatively: I’ve rarely seen a band whose musicianship is so excellent and who seem so genuinely committed to exploring what music can really be.

Amazing melodies, sometime buried in a cacophonous sludge; Anderson’s Fripp-like guitar pyrotechnics intertwining with the rhythmic strummings of pint-sized guitarist John Haughm, who reminded me of some kind of half-human half-wolverine elf creature; sometimes there was some Pink Floyd about it, and then, at other times, the whole thing sounded almost like straightforward powerpop; I swear to God I heard a little bit of Fountains of Wayne in there at at least one point.

The crowd warmed my heart, too; haven’t seen so much long hair on dudes since I wore it that way myself; I stood up in the balcony at Neumo’s watching the entire audience banging their heads in unison; it was a little Orwellian, but not in an overly evil way, although I did get a sense that were one wanting to recruit an army of techno-orcs, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

I totally got into it, though; closed my eyes and just let myself be transported to medieval realms and cosmic starscapes; short-hair head-banged, too.


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