San Francisco, CA
2011 – 03/25
Portland’s White Orange took to the stage first, bringing forth an onslaught of sludgy metal with some downright Torche/Floor guitar tendencies. The band was versatile; no song really surrendered its hands completely to metal, or to melodic hardcore, or to anything, really. In the differences between the first two openers, White Orange practices the route of fine instrument playing, but an overall lack of motion and stage presence that such heavy music tends to involve (although the drummer played with fire — if you have long hair, and you play guitar in a band that slightly resembles anything slightly metalish, you are obligated by law to head bang. LAW!).
Dog Shredder are pretty much what you expect a band with that name to have. The trio from Bellingham, Washington plays a ferocious blast of math rock — but more heavy than rock, yet still not quite metal. The main consistency between this band and the others is that time signatures are out the window, as well as any sort of coherent structure to the songs. Dog Shredder just got on stage, and absolutely shredded their punk riffs all over a motley orgy of noise. Whatever Western Washington University professor in Bellingham is teaching Music Theory 101 clearly forgot the part about 4/4, 6/8, 3/4, or how to make a song without melting faces off.
Empty Space Orchestra
So in the end, with such a wide variety of heavy music, each band being somewhat metal without quite embracing that level of darkness, Bend, Oregon’s Empty Space Orchestra took to the stage to hammer home the fact that eardrums were made to be broken. Empty Space Orchestra play a hyphenated blend of virtually every adjective you can add to rock, with a underlying theme that metal is awesome and therefore needs to be subtly there. Part jazz, part The Mars Volta bizarro world, part stoner/spacey rock, part post-rock, Empty Space Orchestra is a band that don’t want to pigeonhole themselves into anything, so instead they encompass everything — and they do that on display in quite a loud fashion.