9.6.11: Swallowing Swords x Gypsyhawk x Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

I was nervous. I couldn’t really pinpoint a reason for the anxiety, but I figured it could have been a number of things not related to the nights festivities. Work, school, life etc. Or maybe the anxiousness was absolutely related to being at the show. I mean, the last time I saw my friends in Gypsyhawk play was June, at a small outdoor venue. This was before the deal with Metal Blade was made official. Before they were rock stars. “Hmmm. I think I know genuine rock stars now,” I mumbled to myself as I pulled up to the venue, and prepared myself for the worst: mink coats, tacky jewelry and a change in attitude(s). Cause, you know, in 2011 ALL famous people still do that./sarcasm

Rounding the corner, I spotted 3 of the 4 having cigarettes and bullshittin’ in front of China Town’s Mountain Bar. Not a one of them had a mink coat on, which was a relief considering it was 85 or so degrees that night. Congratulations were in order. Hand shakes, hugs and some shit talking were exchanged before I made my way inside. I was calm. What was all that nervousness about? Anxiety issues alleviated.

It was decided Gypsyhawk would get the second slot that night. That meant I’d be standing, and sweating through a local band’s opening set. Swallowing Swords. Yep. Their 4th show ever. My friend Sara leaned over and yelled “They sound like a bad Incubus” into my ear. I laughed for a second before realizing my definite future hearing loss will include this band’s live performance. “I really should have remembered to bring those ear plugs. My bad.”

Some 20 minutes and several polite rounds of applause later, it was over and Gypsyhawk was gearing up to perform. I remember the first time I ever saw Gypsyhawk play some 6 or 7 months ago. It was Erik Kluiber’s first show with the band. He appeared a bit tense, more interested in getting his timing down than putting on a show. But a Summer tour, and several one off shows quickly built chemistry with the rest of the guys in the band that was evident when I saw them in June. They rocked. Last night was the best I’d ever seen from them. There was a tightness between guitarists Andrew and Erik that I hadn’t witnessed before — the best example of this was the lengthy harmonizing intro to one of the band’s new songs, “Red Wedding.” While I don’t have audio, or video, I think it’s worth mentioning that the entire set, minus a couple songs, were all new songs. It was quite a treat to hear the song writing contributions from Erik as well as drummer Ian Brown. It gave those in attendance great insight as to what to expect from future Gypsyhawk recordings. For instance, the band’s debut album Patience & Perseverance, leaned towards the more groovy, straight forward Rock ‘n’ Roll side of things, while some of the new songs performed last night were definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum. One notably new inclusion to the band’s sound was the criminally short, but crushingly awesome breakdown on the song “Frostworm.” The crowd at the tiny Mountain Bar was definitely feeling it. When they finished their set, I realized I was there for two important moments of this band’s (so far) short history – The evolution of Eric Harris’ facial hair, and the performance in which their chemistry seemed to be running on all cylinders. I was pumped.

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth came out to close the show… when they really shouldn’t have. The only reason why they had an opportunity to, is because of the distance they traveled and I wasn’t with it. There’s not much to say about them. They were a fairly simple doom band that consisted of a large, older fellow playing guitar and doing vocals, a young, lean fellow playing drums and someone’s grandmother on bass. I was still pretty hyped from Gypsyhawk playing, and was in no mood for doom, especially not after the lead singer dude thanked Swallowing Swords and “Gypsymoth” for opening. Pfft.

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