Review: Russian Circles, The Haunt, October 24

Review: Russian Circles, The Haunt, October 24

There was a certain atmosphere in the air at the Haunt on Thursday. It could have been anticipation for a band that is currently at the peak of their creativity and popularity. Either that, or the musk of several hundred men crammed into a room. It wasn’t a complete sausage fest, but if there were a nuclear apocalypse outside and the crowd were somehow protected by the lead lined club (that explains why no-one could get signal), then all we’re saying is that it would be impossible to re-populate the earth from the survivors…
Hipster porn, Chelsea Wolfe opened the evening with her dirge-pop tunes. Something that was listenable for half an hour, but made you want to drink a bottle of bleach after an hour of the same delay-drenched vocals and reverb-soaked guitars. She’s the kind of artist you pretend to like so that your friend who works for Vice magazine will think you are cool. It was amusing to watch the men in the audience staring at her as she swayed seductively on stage, it was like they’d never seen a hot Goth before (Note to self: start an alternative Project Runway spin -off called ‘Hot Goth’).
On to the main attraction. Russian Circles noodled around on stage before they played, setting up their huge pedal boards, lighting rig and layering complex loops to start the performance. Their set was loud, brutal and tight. They didn’t speak once to the crowd, instead they played loops and created feedback ambiance to cover each other’s tuning up. It has to be said they were a band who looked completely comfortable on stage. No pompous rock posturing, but they had the crowd eating out the palm of their sweaty riffing hands.
Their newer material from ‘Memorials’ was much more mellow; it kept the post rock build ups, but added heavier drops. Their old material such as ‘Station’, ‘Carpe’ and ‘Death Rides A Horse’ were fan favourites, with some members of the crowd doing what can only be described as ‘metal raving’ to the half time grooves. Several members of the audience commented on Russian Circles’ drummer, Dave Turncrantz and his huge drum sound. It should also be noted he is one of the best metal drummers around. His set up and style are relatively simple, but his ability to create such huge grooves is a testament to his skill on the kit. Chelsea Wolfe came back to the stage for the encore to wail over the top of the bands new single ‘Memorials’. It was a bit of a lull, but the crowd seemed happy to see her again.
After which, the people filtered out of The Haunt with their pockets drained and their ears ringing. Most likely on their way back to their girlfriend’s to research new fuzz pedals.
9 looping pedals out of 10.
Words JDF, Photography Charles Shepherd

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