There’s a guy wearing a pair of air traffic controller headphones and he’s got to be at least sixty. Next to him a lady in her early fifties is grinding up against a young man who should appear to be but isn’t at all out of his element. A fifteen year-old drinking Pabst. Some guy peeing in the bathroom sink. It smells like paint and cigarettes. What is this.
Oh. It’s an art space show.
These kinds of shows are my favorite sort. There’s no security and no heat. The start time of the show is fluid and sometimes bands start playing that aren’t even on the bill that doesn’t really exist. It’s everyone’s favorite party and usually the sound is pretty good because there’s no way a co-op art warehouse has the funds or a space big enough to own a decent PA or mic kit. This way all you’re hearing are the band as they would sound on-stage at a proper venue. You know, if that stage were shoved into the room venue’s bathroom.
The Holy Mountain is such a place. Once named The Booty Cave and now drawing it’s namesake from the most nonsensically obtuse movie I’ve ever seen, The Holy Mountain is such a space where people live, work, play, and puke.
Both Sleepy Eyes of Death and Bronze Fawn are bands that have members who some might consider auxiliary or who? In the case of Bronze Fawn, it is Dan. At most shows he’s right up front near the stage where you can peer over your nose at his frantic yet controlled button pushing. Almost always when a band uses live projection it’s a looped DVD but since two of the members are Adobe employees who are heavily into video I can understand the inclusion of a live VJ for their set.
Unfortunately for Bronze Fawn, the use of any sort of plain white wall was not to be had. Every wall: covered in painting, sculpture, and creation. I thought to myself “Their video projection could look sort of cool on this wall.” as I looked at a pentagram painted on the wall. My mind is immediately sent back to the images in the film that haunt me still.
It was then I realized that the venue shares with the film not only name but visual effect as well. The surfaces of the room all shimmer and stare with sculpted masks and crossed grid pattens. The video projection over the pentagram was not as cool as I had hoped. The band really needs to invest in some sort of backdrop for these situations.
Bronze Fawn – Live @ The Holy Mountain
On the completely different end of the spectrum, Sleepy Eyes of Death were not affected one bit by their surroundings and made it clear during their performance that it didn’t matter where they were. With a complete fog and lights show to accompany their performance, there were times when you couldn’t see but a few feet around the band as the fog billowed up from around their feet. Behind the fog the lights shone up from the floor giving the air around the band texture and color. Dramatic shoots of amber and neon blue silhouette each member along with the tone and pace of the song. Enough to make you wonder “Is there some old man in a beanie working this Lazer Lightshow I’m trippin’ on?”
And, in fact, there is. He sits at the side of the stage with his light mixing board and an itchy finger on the fog release. When the crescendo hits so does the lightning storm of strobe and moonbeams straight from the ether. If you pay attention closely in the video you can spy him hunched over at his station. You can see him making the show that much better for you. Unsung.
With so many bands hiking the instrumental route anymore, it’s refreshing that a band like Bronze Fawn is engaging not only with their melodies but also with a visual show to make their performance stand out from the rest. That the visual show is handled on the fly makes it that much more engaging. Likewise, Sleepy Eyes of Death remain one of the most exciting and head rush inducing performers in their genre. While bands like The Depreciation Guild and Anamanaguchi are experimenting in 8-bit sounds washed over with guitars, it seems that Sleepy Eyes of Death are attacking the mixture with so much more presence and urgency.
Sleepy Eyes of Death – Live @ The Holy Mountain
Bronze Fawn – 2009-02-07 The Holy Mountain – Seattle, WA
Download FLAC: bf2009-02-07.akgc1000s.flac16.zip
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Sleepy Eyes of Death – 2009-02-07 The Holy Mountain – Seattle, WA
Download FLAC: seod2009-02-07.akgc1000s.flac16.zip
Download MP3: seod2009-02-07.mp3.zip
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SD FLV (331 MB): seod2009-02-07.flv
HD MP4 (1.38 GB): seod2009-02-07.mp4