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Sunn Worship

17 Dec


Ally & I went to see the EARTH/BORIS/SUNN O))) show this past weekend here in London – the same night as the infamous LED ZEPPELIN reunion show across town. Some folks in line bemoaned the £1000+ ZEPP ticket scalp nightmare, but the performers refrained from making any such Page/Plant cracks during the evening (a missed opportunity!). Though now that I think about it, BORIS member Takeshi did play a double neck bass/gtr combo thing that, when ya squinted, wasn’t too dissimilar in appearance from Jimmy Page’s “Stairway to Heaven” gtr. Hmm . . .

EARTH’s Dylan C. kept his head down and twanged his gtr in ernest, sounding clean in more ways than one. I’ve never bothered with EARTH releases before, as the one “solo gtr/amp” set I saw of Dylan’s in ’94 was so SMACKED I wanted to put the guy out of his junky misery once and for all. But this revitalized, full-band EARTH sounded powerful indeed, and hit me as nothing so much as a very elongated and relaxed version of the almighty YAWNING MAN. Dylan and his mates utilized the massaging aspects of really-heavy to the hilt (meaning my innards felt all warm/fuzzy afterward) and people were mighty appreciative of everything he did. Me thinks his grunge-survivor status will finally pay off in the long run.

BORIS was uptempo in comparison, though still had time to begin their set with 10-mins. of ultra-slow repetitive riffing. These Japanese longhairs brought a pomp theatricality to the preceedings I’m gonna call “rising-sun prog” (haven’t read the new Julian Cope book yet, or I’d be able to describe this Japadelic thing better!). Whatever it was they were doing, it was clear that these folks didn’t grow up anywhere near the corners of the world I’ve ever inhabited. We thought it especially cool to see the wee chick lead gtrist getting all these overgrown, smelly London hesher dudes to bang their heads in time to her beat.

Now I’m gonna be honest and say I’m not really familiar with much SUNN O))) work, despite the fact my wife’s a big fan – AND that I once considered SUNN O))) member Greg Anderson a casual acquaintance of mine. Yep, Mr. Southern Lord himself used to live in the apts above the record store I once managed in Hollywood, and he’d hang out alot in the store gawking at the ST. VITUS LPs, waiting for his GOATSNAKE pals to show. In fact, I can clearly remember the day when Greg walked in, wearing his biggest shit-eating smile, and announced: “Dude. DUDE! I’ve got a new project going. It’s so cool. It’s all low tones, dude. ALL. LOW. TONES. Dude. It’s SO FUCKING COOL!”

But maybe I shouldn’t’ve ignored em this long – they was potent stuff, for sure – though it took me more than a few minutes to, ya know, acclimate. Atilla Csihar (pictured above) sang, and his spectre-like presence was as singular as his vocals were hypnotic. Not only did it move so very slowly and so very loudly, but gtr downstrokes came in wave-formations that never even attempted to be on beat. This wasn’t rock – though why my default setting expects such input, I know not. It was just gloriously loud, gang-amplification. And without the rock, you’re left with . . . ? UNDILUTED HEAVY METAL RITUAL. Just awesome.

Which, I’ll betcha, was precisely what was missing from that LED ZEPPELIN show we didn’t get to see, cause none of us got that kinda money to burn. Ah FUCK Page & Plant. We still got SUNN O))).