Sockets Records Showcase @ Black Cat Mainstage 2.2.13
Four of Sockets Records’ prized bands (both former and current) performed as both a “last hurrah” for the small and experimental record label and as a fun, wildly original show.
Buildings: The quartet had a strong emphasis on instrumentals and repetition, with various melodies drifting in and out from the keyboard, guitar, and bass. There were frequent rhythm changes, and the drums did a fine job of smoothly moving the band through the different sections of each song. The overall effect was strangely soothing despite the volume, and the guitarist shredding away while utilizing several effects created a shoegaze feel. It was like an indie version of Tool, and that’s saying something.
Imperial China: I did not know this band would actually be going on that night, yet having reviewed their album How We Connect, I instantly recognized their awesomely dissonant “Creative License” track chiming out from the stage. They used escalation and fervor to fantastic effect, grungy guitar chords and pounding drums, with the bass and bass drums making the bar counter rattle. A certain riff would take control of a song, and then layering effects from the other instrumentals would arrive, and together it would all rise and intensify until it felt like the roof would cave in. There was also a surprising and delightful interlude that featured two of the members playing the same drum set and utilizing high hats and a cowbell.
Hume: One band, two drummers. This was enough to draw me closer to the stage. This observation is not made to take away from the other two members in the slightest. The bassist/effects master/singer was multi-tasking his many duties without skipping a beat, and his airy, effects-ridden vocals added a nice consistency over all of the percussion. The guitar contributed some nice riffs and rhythm and helped make the songs sound fuller and deeply layered. The biggest joy, however, was watching both drummers play completely in sync. Whether they played the exact same beats or different ones, they harmonized perfectly, and I kept waiting for some rhythm mishap to occur but it never did. All four members delivered a wholly original sound to make for a solid last show.
Deleted Scenes: The Black Cat was at full capacity by the time Deleted Scenes took the stage, and the band took full advantage of the situation. The moment they took the stage they rocked the house. The instrumentation was less dreamlike and shoegaze than the previous bands, but instead switched-up tempos, rhythms, and emotional tones throughout their set. A song would begin with mostly heavy guitar notes clamoring out from the amps with a very shimmering sort of sound, but then it would die down and return with a completely different vibe and speed. Then, the bass would lay down a smooth line while the drums, as if restless, would add more complicated and full beats until the song ended with a loud, triumphant finale. Songs would ring out with joy, dissonance, and total power, yet despite the changes and the various tones and effects, it was all a smooth and fun delivery. The crowd danced and bobbed their heads to the music, and the musicians on stage performed with equal enthusiasm. The last notes then echoed from the amps, and The Black Cat seemed to vibrate from the leftover sound of four great bands playing their hearts out for us and Sean Peoples for his last Sockets showcase.
Photos by John-Paul Zajackowski