Over the weekend: Iwrestledabearonce at the Marquis Theater

Over the weekend: Iwrestledabearonce at the Marquis Theater
Iwrestledabearonce (Tom Murphy)

Iwrestledabearonce, Human Abstract and Vanna
Friday, May 22, 2009
Marquis Theater
Better Than:
A full-on emocore show.

Human Abstract started the show off with a blend of death metal and proggy screamo. Singer Nathan Ells switched between the death metal growl and higher-register distorted screamo vocals seamlessly. For the most part they sounded like a decent nü metal act, but some chill, melodic breaks and Ells' sonic contributions kept the whole thing from being too silly.

Over the weekend: Iwrestledabearonce at the Marquis Theater
Iwrestledabearonce (Tom Murphy, click to enlarge)

Iwrestledabearonce opened its closing set with something like a sample mixed with live instrumentation of Europe's "The Final Countdown." Having seen other bands pull this kitschy maneuver before, I was prepared for the set to lack the intensity and energy of the recordings I'd heard and videos I'd seen. But those fears were put to rest when the band kicked into one its originals. Maybe it's all kind of a big joke to this band, but even if it is, the grindcore-based rhythm section and vocals coupled with some splintered prog guitar ideas were refreshingly not in lock step with the music of the act's supposed peers.

The jazzy mid-song passages and the group's fearless weaving of electronic music into the frenzy of harried instrumentation and vocals sets Iwrestledabearonce apart at least superficially. But what I saw was a band that was coming into its own style of music. It wasn't just disparate parts awkwardly pieced together to be different for the sake of being different. With a short set that included "You Ain't No Family," and closed with "Tastes Like Kevin Bacon," this quintet from Shreveport, Louisiana proved that spastic music can be more than two-dimensional.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Anyone blending musical styles without coming off like sonic dilettantes is okay with me.
Random Detail: Chris Preece of Vanna had on a t-shirt that said, "What the FUCK is Christian Hardcore?"
By the Way: Iwrestledabearonce had the coolest selection of t-shirts I've yet seen at a reasonable price.

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