Live Review: A Place To Bury Strangers
July 24, 2012, Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta
by Jenni Lynne Rowell
Allow me to begin by stating the obvious: A Place To Bury Strangers‘ studio recordings do not compare to the depth and sheer magnitude of unapologetic volume of the live show. Not only is it louder than you could feasibly imagine, it’s creepier.
I realize that the band’s name carries a certain eerie connotation; as in, are the strangers dead or alive upon burial? But the lack of light, haunting vocal delivery and the screechy guitars made me feel like I was in a movie. A scary one. You get it.
As unhip as I may seem, I first heard of A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS) whilst listening to regular rotation on Georgia State University’s radio station, WRAS (Album 88). In fact, 80-percent of the time I tuned into to Album 88, any number of the tracks from their current release, Worship, was just played, playing or coming up in the next set. I found that it did not take long for me to recognize their sound, especially when thrown in with the likes of bands such as Mount Eerie and Friends.
After two weeks of hearing “You Are The One” and “Ocean” on a regular basis, I was excited to see what they were all about. When I arrived at Drunken Unicorn last Tuesday night, I found myself growing increasingly anxious.
Hunters gave an energetic performance as did AkuYou, but it did not entirely prepare me for the swift face-off rock that was to follow.
I sat watching herds of men file in and fill the space with marijuana, testosterone and schoolgirl giddiness; many of whom held firmly to PBR’s in one hand and inserted earplugs with the other. Drum kits, amps, mics and guitars were swapped out rather hurriedly between the opening acts so I was not expecting the 30 minute intermission before APTBS took the stage. I realize that smoke machines need time to fill a space in order to have their desired effect, but it was the Drunken Unicorn and it took all of 10 minutes on top of the cigarette and pot smoke, so why take the extra 20 minutes?
Once APTBS took the stage, it was as if I was in some sort of purgatory between elation and devastation. At various points in the set I could not help but notice how utterly drained I felt. The deafening droning, distorted guitar made my heart race and my ears ring.
And before I had a chance to figure out what was happening, it was over. 45 minutes of knock down, drag out rock and what you got is what you get. There was no encore and I can’t say that I would have been prepared for one even if the band had not been completely fatigued.
I readily admit that I am a sucker for lo-fi acoustic guitar, but even so there is no doubting the talent that APTBS possess. I am always glad to get thrown so far out of my comfort zone every once in a while, but I will only listen to Worship in broad daylight and never, ever while I am alone.
Editor’s Note: Jenni Lynne Rowell is a contributor to DeadJournalist. A a music aficionado, chef and entrepreneur, she also writes a food blog.
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