Westerner, New Evil, The Absurd At The Satellite, Monday January 29th 2018
The Satellite doesn’t have a Monday residency anymore, but Monday shows are still free, and their last one was featuring no less than 4 bands, Westerner, New Evil, The Absurd and Cairo Knife Fight
Westerner took the stage by storm, they were extremely captivating with a lot of jumping and movement all set-long, while the music brought a lot of things in mind at the same time, from ’70s psychedelia to funk. Their first song exploded in many directions while frontman Cooper Bombadil was constantly stomping and leaping, and because of his tall stature, the vision of one of his jumps was quite spectacular. He invited us to dance, because ‘Reptilians can’t dance and the more we dance the less reptilians we are’ and the rest of the set adopted a much more danceable vibe, with plenty of funky bass textures and disco falsettos. There were a lot of pop hooks in their layered songs, building high-energy atmospheric music which has been compared to Pink Floyd or Massive Attack. If none of these bands came to my mind when they were playing, the quartet still made a strong impression because of their musicianship, inventive music and strong stage confidence. The funkier they got, the more theatrical they were, with crashing grooves by guitarist Javier Olmedo, bassist Brandon Valerino and drummer Mike Gattshall who was hiding behind a mysterious mask during the entire time. Bombadil’s delivery even flirted with rap at one point, before accelerating into a wild and distorted stomp at the end. Their first album, ‘Unreal City’, is a sci-fi rock opera mixing pop with all kinds of sonic elements, which can explain the challenge to describe their music.
Talking about challenge, New Evil was another one, half witch, half glam rock meets Mexican night of the dead, singer Sophia Anita Reyes didn’t let the energy slow down for a second with her high-in-fury number. The band had fever written on most of their songs, and while Reyes appeared like a charismatic frontwoman who, like their music, seemed to cultivate hybridism for the sake of her art. The result was raw with some metal riffs launching rock songs built to impress, while Reyes was moving, crawling and caterwauling with a few Karen O-like accents behind her Dia de los Muertos make up. She was part old-school catwalk seduction, part film noir, boxing the air and fighting against an invisible enemy, while the band was going from surf guitar to more adventurous hard-harsh rock, letting Reyes’ theatrics explode into a furious stage banter. New Evil was a very physical act, kicking you in the stomach and the butt, but before anything it was seducing everyone with an ultra-violent-girl-power central character.
The Absurd continued with a very muscular set, playing tough bluesy guitars, a dark psychedelia and a head banging of desert stone rockers… at least this was my overall impression during their first song. Singer Ben Foerg’s high-pitch and roaring scream was always piercing above the distortion of guitars, and loud pounding drums, ad powerful would be an understatement to describe what they wanted to do. However, not everything sounded like grungy metal hard rock – reviewers have mentioned an inspiration coming from the aggressive post-grunge alternative rock of the ’90s – there was also a more delicate, almost prog-rock layer underlying below their heavy sound. The Absurd was founded in 2015, by Detroit transplants Ben Foerg and Josh Loney, and their sound sure sounded very heavily ambitious for the small Satellite venue, especially because of that powerhouse coning from Foerg’s throat. I had to leave before the last and highly recommended band Cairo Knife Fight, simply because I can’t allow myself going to bed that late on a school night, but I am sure our paths will meet again.