Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Some rock thrives on the caffeinated energy of the young--hardcore, say. Other styles, the ones that flirt more with gravity, benefit from been-around-the-blockness, the encumbrance and weight of age.
Saw Harvey Milk tonight at Europa and they were... old. Actually the rhythm section was young, but the men up front--Creston Spiers and Joe Preston; how's that for a name tandem--were large, haggard, dire, hairy, beefy; okay, a bit overweight. As was the music. Talk about your lumbering behemoths. This was one of the finest examples I've ever seen of the slo-mo ballet that is doom metal. There is a groove to be found in those cavernous between-beat chasms and drummer Kyle Spence knows where the hell it is. The sway, the throb, the light...
And the latter was really the issue. Yes, Harvey Milk uses "clean" parts to contrast with its "bonecrushing" parts and they are not there just for contrast. Sophisticated, hymnlike, painterly passages for clean electric guitar and choral vocals. Spiers tracing visionary paths with his hands, gazing through the ceiling. I think I caught the line "chrome-plated sky." Laal turned to me and whispered, "This is the most beautiful song I've ever heard in my life." Arcane. Mystical. Old. And somehow, they're also really funny.
*Outstanding Harvey miscellany available at the Athens-based Southern Shelter blog, including a full live set from less than a week ago.
*The new album, "Life... The Best Game in Town"--the band's second since reforming a few years back--is outstanding. You can buy it from Hydra Head.
*This is the HM piece I wrote for Time Out.