This show has pretty much nothing to do with the martyred gay San Francisco city supervisor. The quintet Harvey Milk may have named itself in tribute to the man, but that's where any political notions end for this band. Rather, this sludgy, experimental noise-rock-style act spews the kind of weirdness that could come only from Athens, Georgia. Formed in the early '90s, the fivesome remained mostly a cult act there, the Southern gothic vibe of its hometown seeping into the foggy textures of its many seven-inch singles. Around 1998, Harvey Milk broke up. And in the meantime, all of those records became collectors' items.
The band reunited in 2006, and last year saw the release of a comeback album of sorts, called Life... The Best Game in Town. Sure, therein are plenty of the requisite moody, anvil-heavy stoner rock riffs (bring on the Melvins comparisons). But watching Harvey Milk live is an unpredictable experience. There are minutes of quieter, band-teacher noodling that make for a good time to space out — only to have a sudden, piercing shriek in a crunching thud of riffage drag you back to Earth. Yes, this band can be jarring, but the sonic peaks and valleys are never boring.
The coheadliner here is Torche, whose members are longtime Milk buddies. Since parting ways with founding guitarist Juan Montoya last year, the band seems to be chugging along just fine as a three-piece. The guys recently completed a national tour supporting Dredg, and this outing will take them back up through the East Coast.
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