Holly Hunt, Shroud Eater, Devalued at County Grind Live - Green Room, Fort Lauderdale - July 21
We've had a pretty solid reception to our live music nights at Fort Lauderdale's Green Room, and this Saturday night was no different. Though the style of music has changed yet again, the response was none-the-less enthusiastic, and friendly faces from the tricounty region came out to enjoy the sonic heft of some of South Florida's finest heavy acts.
Unfortunately, the men of Slashpine couldn't make it. Perhaps they were still nursing hangovers and sunburns from their meeting with our own Liz Tracy last week, or maybe the preshow goat sacrifice went awry and they were on ice at county. Either way, Devalued stepped in to handle the less-than-coveted opening slot of our little soiree, and it set things off with a bang.
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As the screen above looped cartoon images of skull-headed dragons drifting through the ether (thanks to Audio Junkie and Bleeding Palm), Devalued let loose a chugging intro that ran headfirst into a D-beat rectified wall of screaming death. The band's mixture of grind and Sabbath worked like a peanut butter and 'naner sandwich and set the perfect tone for the evening.
As the crowd grew, Devalued's trails of guitar feedback streaked through Green Room like the flame left behind by a thrown Molotov cocktail. The band's screaming guitarist ripped a Jeff Hanneman-esque solo that sounded like what the flesh-eating bacteria that afflicts Hanneman (probably) feels like.
Following a vinyl intermezzo, hand-selected by DJ Mikey Ramirez and his internet-famous thumb, Shroud Eater took the stage to a properly lubricated crowd of beer-swilling metal fans. Shroud Eater's primordial sludge oozed free from the speakers and wall of amplifiers to the horrified delight of all within earshot. As the band's two ladies and man rambled through what I wish had been the soundtrack to the Jurassic Park movies, they appeared to almost immediately win over the audience. At the foot of the stage, a rowdy bunch shook their fists and banged their heads the entire time Shroud Eater played.
As Shroud Eater began to wrap up with a final song the metal maelstrom it had created, what appeared to be the largest man in Fort Lauderdale propelled himself about so aggressively that he disappeared into the crevice between the wall and the stage. He was quickly helped up and immediately resumed moshing as if nothing had happened.
The song came to a head when drummer Felipe Torres played the most evil set of tambourine hits ever over Janette Valentine's repeating sludge-bass call. It finally boiled over into an onslaught of swamp-gas-explosive metal and an epic shred session, courtesy of the south-pawed singer and guitarist Jean Saiz. After the solo, Saiz relieved her guitar of duty by resting it on the floor, where it bellowed out in feedback until the rest of the sounds made by her bandmates died out. The rowdy performance was met by absolute appreciation by the now thoroughly inebriated audience.
Radio-Active Records and Mothersky main man Richard Vergez fit in another set of uniquely selected vinyl cuts between Shroud Eater's gear removal and Holly Hunt's erection of yet another small village of amplifiers. His choices were eclectic though somehow still fit into the framework of the evening.
After the amp-wall construction was complete, Holly Hunt, or as I call them "The None More Black Keys," took the stage. The duo unleashed upon the masochists that stood before them an unholy tidal wave of fucked. There are no vocals; they would simply get in the way, not to mention the fact that there isn't a human with the voice to do this subsonic gut-rattling justice.
As Holly Hunt lumbered through its riff cycles, it became apparent that, although the sound is assaulting, it is equally hypnotic. Maybe it's Monteavaro's persistent grinning or just the way the whole package functions, but something about Holly Hunt is just plain fun. When the duo chugs and hammer away on one of its lower riffs in unison, it sounds as if it's drilling to the core of the planet.
Though Holly Hunt can sometimes get a little mushy-sounding at a place like Churchill's (depending on who has their hands on the knobs), the expanded size and sound of Green Room served to sharpen the impact of the duo's sound. Green Room's stage has three pendant lights hanging a few feet overhead. Throughout Holly Hunt's set, the one directly above Perry's mountain of home-built speaker cabs and vintage Hiwatt amplifiers swayed and moved in the wake of the music. I believe the swaying light, which mimicked the movements of the slowly head-banging crowd, sums up the live portion of the evening pretty well.
After Holly Hunt finished playing to a slightly shrunken crowd of brave individuals, locals filed in and danced until the wee hours to resident DJ Andie Sweetswirl's indie and electro selections.
Personal bias: Amplifier worshiper.
Overheard: Nothing spoken was loud enough to be overheard. Only metal.
Next time: Americana? Polka? Hopefully not ska.
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