Melt-Banana’s joyful noise.

035It’s been a few weeks since I saw Melt-Banana at Harlow’s, and for some reason I just can’t get their set out of my mind.  Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that I actually got to see Melt-Banana; sure, they’ve toured the states many times, but keep in mind that I was living in the middle of Iowa up until a year ago, not exactly a hotbed for extreme and/or experimental music.  Since we’ve moved to Sacramento, I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing a handful of bands I never imagined I’d get the opportunity to see without traveling great distances (Sargeist and Ufomammut immediately spring to mind), and the Japanese duo are probably number one on the “holy shit, I can’t believe they’re actually playing where I live” list so far.

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Church @ The Press Club, Sacramento, CA 06/04/2015

014At this point it’s well documented that shows during the week are typically a no-go for me; I’m a corporate lackey that’s typically in bed by 9:00 pm.  That said, there was no way in hell I was going to miss Church’s tape release / tour kickoff show with Lycus, Usnea and Ufomammut in spite of it taking place late on a Thursday night (shout out to my boss for letting me take off the Friday before a week-long business trip).  The Sacramento doom quintet recently unleashed their absolutely stellar debut album Unanswered Hymns in digital form, but being a physical format guy, I was dying to pick up this three song behemoth in glorious analog and hold it my hands, not to mention the fact that Church are an excellent live unit and I’ll find just about any excuse I can to see them play.

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-(16)- / Brainoil / Kowloon Walled City / Church @ Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA 04/25/16

039If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Sacramento in the ten months I’ve lived here, it’s that this city loves its doom and sludge.  I’m sure as hell not complaining, especially when we get shows of this caliber; long-running LA sludge godfathers -(16)- descending upon the Starlite Lounge along with Oakland sludge/punk legends Brainoil, SF noise rockers Kowloon Walled City and hometown doom-lords-in-the-making Church was indeed a dream show for fans of all things slow ‘n’ low.

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Incantation / Funerus / Mortuous / Plague Widow @ Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA, 01/12/2015

1658248_10154919648200389_4327905701464784151_oThere’s no shortage of great shows happening in Sacramento every month, but the dregs of being a responsible adult often keep me from going to them.  When you’re a corporate lackey that gets up for work bright and early at 6:45 AM, going to a show on a weeknight that doesn’t even start until 8:00 PM isn’t really in the cards.  But there was no way I was going miss out on Incantation; the death metal legends are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a string of West Coast dates, and with Funerus, Mortuous and Plague Widow in tow, this one was guaranteed to be a rager.

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Dispirit and the art of total immersion.

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As a heavy metal fan, I’ve seen dozens of amazing shows.  But I can probably count on one hand the number of shows that fully immersed me, the ones that made real life and all the horrific mundanity that goes with it melt away completely, the ones that made me feel like I was alone in the universe with nothing but the band and the music.  Dispirit’s headlining set at the Starlite Lounge last Sunday night was one of them.

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