White Mice devour the Turf Club
What's that you say? Speak up. Everything is muffled.
That was the resounding sentiment as the unfortunately modest crowd trickled from the Turf Club onto University avenue last night after White Mice, the long standing noisegrind band that once made tourmates of Skinny Puppy, headlined a devastating (and, for a noisegrind band, lengthy) set.
But it wasn't pure decibel power that kept the attendees stunned last night-- from Slapping Purses, through Blank Dogs and into White Mice, the show was an intriguing narrative of music cross-genres, one of those rare shows that leaves you bathed in purifying noise, wiped clean of all the day's furies.
Slapping Purses at Oxxxx Hxxxx.
Firstly, it can't be said loudly enough that Slapping Purses, the local one-man show that lives and works out of two quaint suitcases in which a sequencer and a miscellany of digital noisemakers lay nestled, may be the best local band going. This is a Vulcan mind meld of hip-hop grooves, techie beats, and hopelessly fuzzed, harrowing and unintelligible vocals. The crowd, which swarmed around his stand on the floor before the stage, was decidedly more austere and less dance-prone than usual, but the jaws were still agape, and his swift set was met with great ovation.
Blank Dogs weren't quite the unanimous sell. Their music, loud and full four-four rock with enough distortion to be forward and vocals drenched in distortion pinched directly out of Elephant 6's toy chest, carried its own weight. But the band's main failing was their decided lack of enthusiasm. Sure, they're on tour, and sure, it's hard to get excited about playing a Wednesday night to 40 people. But then, that's what sets White Mice apart from Blank Dogs. They're both on tour, they're both bedraggled, and it's a sparsely attended Wednesday for both bands. White Mice brought it. Blank Dogs didn't.
White Mice. Plutonium brought to a boil. Remote control batteries bursting with corrosion. Amphetamines and ether. The tempetuous sound was nearly too much to bear, the kind that kept a wary crowd at a safe distance for the first song or twos. But once the eardrums capitulated, and an approach to the stage could be withstood, the form within their chaos magically emerged, and showed itself to be a scaffold of monstrous musical finery. The ear immediately harkens to noisegrind's superheroes The Locust, and it's not entirely unfair. The bands are similarly technical, similarly offensive to the ear, similarly costumed and gimmicked.
But White Mice has more mercury in them, more willingness to slow things down to a sludgy crawl, more dynamism in their mix. The crowd had thinned yet further-- a pity, as the few who remained were left paralytic and transfixed by the overwhelming tide that washed from the P.A.