Monday, May 14, 2012

A Place To Bury Strangers - The Cockpit, Leeds

A Place To Bury Strangers
The Cockpit, Leeds
Sunday 13th May 2012
Oliver Ackermann of A Place To Bury Strangers
The New York based band A Place To Bury Strangers played The Cockpit last night promoting their new EP Onwards To The Wall and also their up and coming album Worship so I thought I would go along and see what all the fuss was about. Not knowing beforehand that they had a reputation as one of New York’s loudest bands, I was  surprised to see a lot of people asking for free ear plugs from behind the bar before the show. How rude I thought, why come to a gig and dampen the sound with ear  plugs? On entering the room I was hit with a wall of sound but not so much that it rattled my internal organs so I opted out of wearing any ear plugs. All that was visible was the silhouette of the crowd and a stage of white smoke. I made my way to the front to see if I could get a better look at the band, but I couldn't as they  
were enveloped in a white cloud which I was now in the midst of.

My first thought was maybe they were a little shy as not a word was spoken to the audience, no eye contact and you rarely got a glimpse of anyone on stage unless they came out of the shadows which then only produced a light tunnel effect around each band member. But then with the lead singers unwavering monotone voice combined with the mesmerising music I realised it was all part of the show and they wanted you to submerse yourself in the music and enjoy the experience, so I did.

I imagined if I turned around to face the audience at any given point they would look as though they were all in a hypnotic state and standing as though in a wind tunnel from the blast of the sound that was coming from the stage. When I did turn around, most of the audience were stood transfixed, staring into the white cloud and swaying along to the music.

The gig started to reach a crescendo when Oliver Ackermann had a frenzy with his guitar, throwing it around in the air before crashing it down onto the stage where he then used the amp to create some feedback from the abandoned guitar.

Towards the end of the show Dion Lunadon the bass player jumped off the stage into the crowd rock and roll style and began playing until a string snapped, upon which he seemed to disregard his instrument and gave it to the audience to play with where they swallowed it up like vultures as it crowd surfed along and continued to get plucked all to the audiences delight until it got passed back.

The Crowd Surfing Bass
Oliver Ackermann and Dion Lunadon brought the finale of the concert to a head by smashing their guitars as if they were axes into an amp until Oliver left Dion to kill the amp by smashing his guitar straight through it, right before my eyes. Not having experienced anything quite like this my eyes popped out of my head and my jaw hit the floor. My first thought was what a waste of an amp but that sounded too much like my mother and my thoughts soon turned to how very rock and roll it was and I gleefully smiled at my first experience of rock and roll hedonism.

To sum up, the gig was a short musical journey of psychedelic guitars and thrashing drums which thrust the songs forward taking you to beautiful place before throwing you back into reality when the lights came on. The band vanished as quickly as they came on leaving the audience hypnotised, some deafened but most of all in awe of what they had just experienced and ready to buy their new album.

Rock and Roll