If you are the type person who enjoys going to see a selection of bands that have the ability to set an entire audience off on a lucid, euphonious trance without singing a single word – then you would have thoroughly enjoyed the musical tastings of Earth and their entourage with their moving, emotional and simply awe-stricken music last Sunday night.
First up for the evening was four-piece band, The Margins. The group sat on chairs for the entirety of the set – there is no doubt that they did this for the ease of playing, however, it allowed for their curious music to hit the emotional strings harder.
The band used their instruments in almost every conceivable way, from the ‘normal’ to the wildly obscure to produce their tantalising music which varied, often surprisingly, in volume, tone and depth. Their sound consequently took the audience through an array of sensations, from anger and confusion all the way through to lust and love.
The crowd didn’t appear to know when the songs finished, the group simply stopping with a halt and a “thank you”. Only after those words were uttered did the crowd give their justly appreciative applause.
Bonnie Mercer came up on stage next and without a peep, simply started playing one 30-minute long, drawn out, and improvised song. Her slow, no fuss, music was reminiscent of opening track from The Melvins album, Lysol. While using a highly reverbed guitar with a loop pedal, Mecer was able to successfully draw in an ambivalent and captivated attention of just about everyone in the room.
To play on stage alone illustrated Mercer’s boldness; but to play so damn well and to encapsulate the entire audience as she did emphasised Mercer’s sheer skill and passion. Her set was by far the stand-out of the night.
Finally the curtains opened on drone metal pioneers, Earth, who instantly appeared to be both graceful and confident. The first request from frontman, Dylan Carlson was for no flash photography, “not because I’m an arsehole, it’s a medical condition.” Take that Jack White.
As soon as the music started to play it was obvious that different members of the audience seemed to experience different reactions, some stood still and simply observed what was happening on stage and around them, while others focused all their attention solely on the music. Almost everyone was softly banging their heads, patting with their hands or tapping their feet.
Perhaps what was most impressive of Earth was their ability to play so slowly and so patiently. Their music is about teasing the senses – it felt as if the audience was almost anticipating a loud and fast crash into booming metal-style music – but in every song that moment never arrived.
After the individual members of the crowd overcame the tease they slipped into a daze allowing the music to absorb into all of their being – forgetting completely that the compositions were almost on repeat until the end of the drawn out track.
The drummer, Adrienne Davies, was perhaps the most mesmerising to watch on stage. She moved her arms in slow dramatic waves, then just as she hit her instrument it become snake-like last minute. Watching her repeat her movements over, and over again was like watching a licking campfire – unexplainably enthralling and powerless to stop watching.
Earth were unforced and superbly composed, and despite their solemn drone music, became the perfect climactic ending for the evening. It was, for the most part, an unforgettable evening.
– Tara Emily