Text and Photos: Charles Nickles
So, remember how I was going to take a break from heavy after Texas? You know, kick the doom-wah-diddy for a minute and let my mind go soft and breezy with major chords and clean singing because three days of terror is too much for any one man to bear unless that man is Hart Island and death, over decades, has become him so what’s three days in a crotch on the Left Hand Path hate-fucking promise like a goddamn sigil and isn’t Superchunk playing soon?
Oh, they’re not?
Well, fuck it, then.
I’ll just throw on some Big Black and head down to Vitus.
King Vision Ultra
I am never gonna get this motherfucker’s name right. I keep wanting the V to be for VIOLENCE because somehow I have it in my head that King Vision Ultra is the nom de guerre of a hyper-antagonistic, blood-fisted, noise-drenched MC so calculatingly (in the new cynical view of Brooklyn) unhinged that Shane Smith carved him into a fecal idol which he had bedazzled by Damien Hirst because white people with money are the worst but he isn’t.
Well, he kinda is.
KVU is definitely noisy and his noise is decidedly antagonistic, braying out so deep and amplified that he kindly encourages the audience to employ earplugs before he begins to fuck around with his machines under a sheet I believe is referred to as “the terror cocoon.”
Which I do but it doesn’t matter.
KVU is tuned in to some earth-rattling shit. Sacrum-cracking beats, Bell’s Palsy shrieks and screaming, screaming, screaming from a deep, dark resound that’s only amplified by his obscurity. The more I watch him howl and writhe, the more I become entranced by his performance.
It’s a little like watching a furious Anelosimus eximius (those Antillean spiders with the massively unfuckwithable webs) colony force Merzbow to find a voice for all his years of aesthetic tantrums.
Or maybe a little more like watching the Vampire Squid from Hell do a mating dance to B L A C K I E.
Yeah, let’s go with that one.
Do you fucking LOVE Lingua Ignota yet?
Because you really should fucking love Lingua Ignota by now.
Her work is a salvo, inspired by violence and skin, which transcends the crass normatives of dick-fisted noise with a femme reveille that speaks to the horrors of the human experience far more eloquently than any band of bummer boys bumping ugly with their toys.
She is the triumph of survivor, remorseless and defiant.
This is the third time I’ve seen her and with each gig she (her real name is Kristen, I think) becomes more and more the unconquerable soul, bloodied but unbowed, crying out against Absalom.
Tonight she introduces herself on the floor in the darkness and as her set unfurls she opens herself to appearance, alternating between abrasion and absolution, offering right and righteous accusations with a thousand knives. At one point, as her performance reaches its apex, she foregoes the small boundary of safe, observable space and, wrapping herself in her wires and light, offers her body as force, colliding into the void and screaming at the observer with once damnable purpose before descending into a keen of a truth so devastating, it sucks all the air out of the room.
You know your band is the shit when Thom Wasluck drives two and a half hours to see you. I mean, all that dude does is work, whiskey and racket so for him to up and fuckit down to NYC for one night only to see you intone your distinctive brand of annihilation psalms is just the kind of stamp of ruthless approval I need to feel like a dick for missing out on this band for so long.
Because they are fucking HEAVY, dude.
Beat out with a cavernous SWANS stomp and wrung wretched with a bassless six-string No Wave tet-a-tet, Big Brave don’t so much play songs as contract the first ontological argument into a series of sonic epics that challenge the pedestrian values of the space-time continuum.
With a wink, I’d like to think. Maybe a grin.
But being a neophyte, I can’t tell if what I’m seeing is pleasure, pain, coyness or scorn or something more. A guileless pride, perhaps, in claiming deconstruction as the last able path to invention.
I don’t know.
But I’m glad that there is a human element to Big Brave’s tectonic endeavors. A body needs to know a body (or series of bodies) can create such stunning palatials.
Okay, so I kinda fucked this one up.
Last time I saw The Body (with Lingua Ignota, as luck would have it) they performed tortured wire tomes in the shadows of Vitus. Screaming and pounding and huffing a similar crystalline grit to what used to wind me bloodied at Wolf Eyes gigs.
So I didn’t think much of being near them. I didn’t think much about the crowd or the time so I took a few minutes to have a chat with Mr. Cortes, smoke a butt, grab a beer, take a piss and when I returned to the gig (this was seriously, like, 20 minutes at most) the goddamn place was a wall of black clad trembling in furious wait which I could barely penetrate without being a real shitbird and ruining the “good” times of a surprising amount of couples here to see The Body actually play a set, lit and placed like a real rock and roll band.
More or less, I guess.
But what the shit?
Who the fuck are these people? What the fuck else were they doing before I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer? Is that record the impetus for this influx? Is it their work with Thou or Uniform? Who turned the fucking lights on, man? I mean, I know it doesn’t matter. What matters is The Body is a fucking institution whose relentless pursuit of sonic titanism espouses values, aesthetics and means that are pretty motherfucking singular in the heavy-as-a-pretty-fucking-heavy-thing community and, as such, leaves them almost wholly devoid of equals (though they are ripe with contemporaries) and whereas most bands of their magnitude could sit comfortable on the gilded shitter of cliquish import, The Body just keep fucking doing what The Body fucking does: expanding the displeasure principle over hills and gales of outrageous misfortune with no regard for anything or anyone they don’t admire, respect or love and so, of course, their smoldering output has piqued the interest of the dissatisfied many who turn to volume for hope (or edification of their lack thereof) in the great suffocation of the Western NOW!
And they deliver the endless nameless like it’s no one’s fucking business because of course they do because that IS WHAT THEY DO and they do so with such force that, for a few songs towards the end of the set, they brew up a pit which fills me with such bygone joy I could spit.