Holly Hunt's Year One Album Release
With Torche, Post Teens, and The Tunnel
Churchill's Pub, Miami
Friday, December 14, 2012
Better Than: Any episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that didn't have to do with a spaceship battle or a malfunctioning holodeck.
Of course, the most appropriate locale was Sir Winston's, the only pub built to withstand this kind of heft, in a neighborhood already inundated with enough loud and weird shit of its own to not be particularly concerned with what odd noises/crowds amass at 3 a.m. down the block.
The show served as a release party for Holly Hunt's debut full length, Year One, which was recorded by Torche bassist, Jonathan Nunez, and Torche's seven-inch Harmonslaught.
The Tunnel, yet another South Florida duo, kicked things off with a serious bang while the crowd desperately tried to find a way to describe their sound. We overheard "Pentagram meets Melvins," which is actually pretty accurate. But we're going to go with Black Sabbath meets Rush.
From outside the bar, it sounded like five people were on stage. But there were only two men -- known only as "Billie" and "Arturo" -- weaving together layered parts and off-kilter rhythms. Billie's multitasking prowess was simply mind-boggling: he played intricate guitar parts (expanded with harmonizing effects) while holding down the low end via a Moog bass pedal set and singing counter melodies. Impressive to the uninitiated, completely astounding to any other musician who's attempted even two of those three at once. Arturo was no slouch himself, consistently bolstering the songs and catching the room in a full-blown head-bob. The set was a fantastic blast of progressive doom metal made by a band you really ought to keep an eye on.
Following the Tunnel's intricacy was a quick jaunt through a set of Post Teens' breakneck punk attack. After about four songs, a lone stage diver found his way onto the heads of audience members, catalyzing a mayhem that didn't subside until the music ended. As the Torche/Shitstorm drummer smashed his cartoonishly huge red drums, the rest of the band collapsed over their instruments while people launched from the stage, latched onto the speakers suspended from the ceiling, and stepped on the heads of friends and strangers. If we had to choose between Post Teens' set on Friday and OFF!'s performance at Grand Central a few months ago, we would gladly take having our heads walked on by Post Teens fans over having our ears chewed off by Keith Morris.
Giving the audience little time to recover, Holly Hunt took the stage. The band's live show sounds like what you might hear if you could listen to a conversation between planets or the grinding of tectonic plates. Guitarist Gavin Perry and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro faced each other and started the trudge through tracks from Year One. If you didn't think it was possibly to stage dive to a band like Holly Hunt, you are mistaken. As Monteavaro wore her trademark "drummers-grin," men and women launched from around the pub, moshed a bit, and were altogether consumed by the band's music.
Toward the end of the set, Perry pulled an aluminum-bodied guitar with a conspicuously long neck from the side of the stage. The sound created by the instrument was like Satan playing a tuba constructed from the bones of the damned -- lower than low and absolutely crushing with every note. A highlight of the set was "Destroy All Monsters" which, between its borderline melodic guitar riff and inescapable groove, garnered the best crowd reaction we've ever witnessed for a Holly Hunt performance. The set surely marked a special moment for the band.
Closing out the festivities was Torche. Riding high off the heels of a tour with Converge, the band has released a seven-inch single for the song "Harmonslaught," which features the track "Rock N Roll Mantasy" as a B-side. The band was in incredible form (as usual), and played a set of favorites that ranged from the unbridled muck of "King Beef" -- which was introduced by Steve Brooks dropping a couple of improved rap bars over the song's hypnotic beat -- to the spacey guitar shred of "Snakes Are Charmed."
Not surprisingly, the new single was met with a huge response; the track has all of the bomb-note heft that fans of earlier Torche efforts might have missed a bit on Harmonicraft, and it might just be the heaviest thing the band has released since In Return. To our ears, "Harmonslaught" sounds like the ideal soundtrack for dinosaurs fucking.
Sticking with the heavy tracks, the show ended with the bombast of "Tarpit Carnivore." And the battered crowd left, smiling with bruised bodies and even more bruised eardrums.
Overheard: Nothing. We will never overhear anything again.
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Random Observation: One of these days, Jonathan Nunez is going to seriously headbang his skull right off his neck.
Cautionary Note: Y'all need to stop hanging from those speakers. Some Great White shit is apt to happen.