Arriving at the Knitting Factory around 8pm on Sunday, the first thing I noticed was the sign on the wall: SOLD OUT. Not a suprise, really, as I know that Shellac are popular and their show at Northsix in Brooklyn had sold out about a week earlier. But what drew me here was the chance to see opening band Consonant for the second time, and I'd made damn well sure to get tickets for me and my friends well in advance.
After hanging out in the downstairs bar area for awhile, we made our way upstairs to a relatively uncrowded club area. S'allright by me, as I get to position myself right up front, just to the left of a couple of tall guys (why must you always stand front and center, tall people?!?).
The band did their usual unassuming shuffle onstage, and what followed was a set of almost entirely new material -- just three songs from the album, though they did close once again with my favorite ("Call It L---"), ending in a squall of glorious noise and then over-and-out. Damn! Consonant need to play a headlining gig so we can get more than 45 minutes' worth of music at a time, and now that they have bunches of new songs perhaps that will happen sometime soon. While I pretty much gave up recording shows years ago, I would have liked to have taped that one just to hear some of the new material again, which continued the ebb-and-flow dynamic of songs found on their album.
Almost as soon as Consonant's set ended, the pushing began, as Shellac fans made a beeline for the stage. Yikes! The three of us just looked at each other and started pushing against the tide towards one side of the club to get the hell out of the way. Then we cooled our heels from our new vantage point for awhile as the rest of the club filled up.
Here they came... Albini & Co., lined up across the front of the stage, with the drummer dead-center. Interesting. I would soon see the reason for this set-up, as the drummer launched the band into song one with a furious wallop. LOUD. Boy-rock, indeed. But halfway through the first song I found myself getting into the groove of it... yeah, groove. It's not something that I'd really enjoy listening to at home on the stereo, but live the band just came together to create this vibe that reminded me of Stereolab's live show circa '94. Not that Shellac sound anything like Stereolab (obviously!), but they both use repetition of sound to hypnotic effect. Verdict? Didn't love it, but liked it, and it prompted me to dig out the closest touchstone to Shellac that I have in my record collection: Slint's Spiderland album. Now that's classic.Posted by nstop at October 15, 2002 04:36 PM