LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Faun and a Pan Flute, Memes, God’s Balls at the Earl

Faun and a Pan Flute - Live at the Earl
Photo by Brandon Belcher

God’s Balls covered the stage with massive amps, visceral feedback and corn starch blood last Wednesday. Without much delay, the band, comprised of the Earl’s line cooks, proceeded to pound ear-grinding powerviolence deep into every existing orifice of every soul listening. The lead singer in his bare black underwear was mashing his body into invisible hordes of hate. I felt like I was witnessing a herd of cattle crossing a pasture of claymores. God’s Balls were short, sweet and deadly. No more than a 15-minute set and they were off. The audience was shaken and stirred with a hostility that had been driven up from the very bottom of our collective gut. God’s Balls are grease demons hiding in men’s skin that left us with a single comprehensible statement: “Life’s important so make sure you have fun while living it.”

Shortly after regaining a sense of self, Memes began to set up an eclectic group of instruments, including samplers, synths and a mega guitar. The mega guitar was a six string bass on top of a six string guitar with one massive neck. Though they had some trouble with getting all of their gear to work, once they had it worked out with the sound guy, they skillfully used their multitude of instruments and gizmos to create engaging melodies.

Memes live sound is true to their EP. I noticed a lot of guitar tapping that danced back and forth between frontman Mike McGrath and (mega) guitarist Matt Restagno. They have a math rock construction to most of their compositions and though I found the reliance on tapping to be a bit heavy, it was an impressive demonstration of musical prowess. On their Facebook bio, Memes writes, “Rene Lambert plays the hell out of some drums,” and I would have to agree. The drumming seemed to be the main source of cohesion.

I noticed the room had become bloated and dense with sweat as Memes ended. The Earl had filled considerably as Faun and a Pan Flute dragged up nearly ten bodies onto the stage. The complexities of their symphonic arrangements require an expert balance of tone and volume control, and the band came out hauntingly strong at a volume that wasn’t abrasive. The beginning of the set had much to offer as they performed some new tunes that can only be heard live for now. I could hear the classical and jazz elements much easier in concert than on the recordings which require a massive stereo for full listening pleasure. The crowd danced happily and energetically as the band laid down smooth melodious fervor. Several times I had to catch Gage Gilmore’s keyboard from falling off its stand because Adam Babar, Suzanne Baker and the rest of their crew had brought the crowd to the height of vibration. I appreciated how Baker would at times leave the stage for whole songs in order to dance amongst listeners and friends. At one point as she climbed back onto the stage without the microphone, she and the rest of the band started a slow murmur and raised it slowly from the floor of the audience to the very ceiling of the Earl, letting out a wailing crescendo that plunged the band into the last song of their set.

It was an incredible sweeping energy that they cultivated from us that night, and I am sure that there are not many groups out there with the ability to manufacture that kind of “fractal soul.”

Photographer Brandon Belcher was also on hand to snap a few photos of the event. Check out his pics after the jump.

Click on a photo to enlarge.

© Copyright 2012 Brandon Belcher