live review: Lightning Bolt, Lyonnais, Big Dad @ Eyedrum, 7/4/2010

It might not have been a traditional way of celebrating the holiday, but Lightning Bolt at Eyedrum felt appropriate for July 4th. The clear view of the fireworks from Turner Field might have helped. So did the large of number of people hanging around the parking lot drinking beer from red cups. It felt like an extension of the barbeque I spent most of my day at.

I got there by 9, and the crowd was already getting heavy. By the time first opener Big Dad went on, it was probably close to a sell out. Big Dad is a drums/bass/voice Hawks side project that is heavy, squelching, and reminiscent of both Touch & Go noise-rock and Big Business’ guitar-less metal. The live show is more subdued than Hawks, but I guess that’s what happens when you trap Michael Keenan behind a bass….and in this case subdued is extremely relative.

Lyonnais played next. They did what they do, but this time there were more people than usual. I still dig them, but I don’t have much else to say at this point. Check these links if you want more.

Lightning Bolt is the type of band that whips the crowd into a frenzy before they even start playing. The crowd knows what’s coming and they want to be as close as possible. It’s also possible that they relative scarcity of their shows adds to the volatility. When they started their set around midnight, the crowd was a little too ready to explode. I’m sure the band appreciates the energy, but they can’t enjoy having their gear knocked over. They stopped before the end of their first song so Brian Chippendale could ask everyone to back off enough so they had space to actually play. He asked like someone who’s been through this before. Luckily, the crowd got the message after the first false start.

Lightning Bolt remains one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. Brian Chippendale could play a single note on a snare drum and it would still be immediately identifiable, and Brian Gibson’s hybrid bass always strikes the perfect balance between tunefulness and brute force. Their sound is monolithic live, with Gibson’s bass sounding bigger than it does on the albums and Chippendale’s drumming managing to be even more jaw-dropping because it seems like the music is just pouring out of him. It’s easy to see why they’ve historically had problems capturing their live sound on record.

The crowd at Eyedrum was whatever you wanted it to be. Up close, things were crazy. It took a concentrated effort to stay on your feet. Move a bit back and it wasn’t as intense, and move back to the risers or even behind the stage and you could watch without getting hassled. I can’t honestly say where the best place to be was – it’s definitely easier to take in the music away from the pit, but it feels like you’re losing some of the experience.

It was a good weekend to be at Eyedrum, and it was great that attendance was so high for both this show and the Islands one the night before. Thanks go to Tight Bros for booking such a strong pair of shows and to the crowd for supporting touring bands on a holiday weekend.

That shitty picture above is all I’ve got, but Ben Worley/beansummer uploaded the nice video embedded below.

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