Monday, November 16, 2009

The Middle East: A Place to Bury Strangers

Don't be fooled. The title isn't advice. On October 30, 2009, I subjected my eardrums to the unrelenting torrent of noise that is A Place to Bury Strangers. For those unfamiliar with the band, it is fronted by Oliver Ackermann who creates his own effects pedals and sells them under the name Death by Audio, a very appropriate name for some of the loudest pedals available. A Place to Bury Strangers is often known as "the loudest band in New York" and for rightful reasons. They decided to bring that loudness to the Middle East in Cambridge, MA and I'm very thankful that they did.

The band ran through songs that blurred the lines between noise rock, shoegaze, and pop. "Deadbeat", one of my favorite songs in recent memory, sounded like a surf rock song that had been turned up to eleven and distorted beyond recognition. It exhibits one of the surprising qualities this band possesses: they are really catchy when they want to be. Other standouts included their recent single "In Your Heart" (the video can be streamed in this new track rundown) and the epic "I've Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart". The set ended with "Ocean" which went on for upwards of 20 minutes and deconstructed into absolute feedback. It's something you're either going to love or hate but I happen to fall into the former category. Their performance was enhanced by trippy lighting that projected patterned light on the entire band making it an extremely stimulating aural and visual experience. Stream their incredible new album Exploding Head after the set list below.

Set list:

1. I Know I'll See You Again
2. Deadbeat
3. Everything Always Goes Wrong
4. Exploding Head
5. In Your Heart
6. To Fix the Gash in Your Head
7. Half Awake
8. I've Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart
9. Ocean

I also caught the end of Dead Confederate's set which was unexpectedly appealing. I had listened to the band previously and was not too impressed. I found that on record they were kind of boring and quickly lost my attention. The last three songs that I was able to catch of their performance were much more engaging. I guess they are one of those bands that are better left to showcase their talents on stage. Stream a few songs and judge for yourself.

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