By Maria Shurr
July 19, 2014
One of the fun things about going to the Flat is watching the reactions of random passersby on the street, spying on the non-gig-goers who curiously peek through the inconspicuous South Williamsburg venue’s windows en route to weekend shenanigans. Depending on what time those pedestrians were taking a gander during Saturday night’s Noise Love showcase, they may or may not have gotten an eyeful, but they most certainly got an earful.
The line up’s more experimental acts, Hidden Trax and the Wendigo, opened and closed the night, with the two noise blasting trios, Skull Practitioners and The Yin Yangs, wrecking eardrums in between. I regrettably missed Hidden Trax, although the ambient-noise fusions on the sound project’s Band Camp were enough to make me want to keep an eye out for future gig announcements. I walked in shortly after Skull Practitioners began their set, and they brought the noise in a composed enough way that I held off on ordering one of the Flat’s reliably delicious ginger verandah cocktails until after their set had finished. Not even their self-effacing announcement of “we’re playing an eight minute song, take your drink break now” could sway me (and yes, this is a real paraphrase from one of the guys in the band). Whatever curveballs Skull Practitioners threw, be it long songs or brutal instrumental pieces, they navigated the set deftly, even employing a psych rock edge in a way that didn’t feel stale. More conventional psych rock revivalists: please take note.
I had seen The Yin Yangs once before, and even at the back of a spacious venue, I still felt blindsided by their tumult of sound and vision (bassist Brendan Winick also does projections on occasion). Although a fairly new band on the scene, this trio can easily wipe the floor with many of their peers, churning out extraordinarily loud but still melodic rock indebted to A Place to Bury Strangers (in a live setting, at least; more angles arise on recordings) and similar acts who are both apocalyptically loud and offering something of substance. The Yin Yangs set was also the moment in the night when I was most worried about the windows and windshields being blown out on any cars parked outside of the Flat.
Watching others watch The Wendigo for the first time is always entertaining, but due to edging myself closer to the bar for more ginger verandahs, I failed to catch any perplexing expressions from the aforementioned curious pedestrians. A few confused mutterings between songs confirmed my beliefs, however. No matter what has been seen or will be seen throughout any given night, there are usually not many people who are ready for a dude with a coyote headdress bringing some urban flavor to a Native American legend. More detail would probably ruin a first -timer’s Wendigo stage show, so I recommend that you all take in the supernatural vibes first hand. As should be the case for a Noise Love showcase in general.