By Andrew Bansal
August 22nd 2016, Union, Los Angeles CA: The world of heavy music has seen collaborations between bands and musicians, mainly in the form of supergroups, but one can state with certainty that there has never been a joint effort wherein two complete bands combine all their talents and musicalities to form a unified force. Portland, Oregon experimental sludge/doom/drone duo The Body and Ocean City, Maryland death metal/noisegrind outfit Full Of Hell orchestrated one such collaboration, having come together in 2015 and released their joint full-length debut ‘One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache’ via Neurot Recordings earlier this year. Now, The Body and Full Of Hell are on a three-week North American tour to perform this new compositions as well as re-worked versions of selections from their respective discographies. They visited the Los Angeles for a gig at Union (in the small room) last Monday August 22nd, with local support from Authority Figure, Whelm and Body Fluid. The event was put together by Crash The Clubs, and attracted a sizable congregation of the LA music underground.
Doors opened at 8 PM, the show began promptly at 8:30, and as it would turn out, this wasn’t one of those underground gigs where the bands’ set-up times run longer than their set times. The turnover here was quick and efficient, and attendees got to see four bands within two-and-a-half hours. The dark, dingy atmosphere inside the room was very much in tune with what a show of this nature should be like. The show started with a band called Body Fluid playing a short set of hardcore. They never announced their name but made enough of an impression for somebody in the crowd to yell out asking their name, and in general, served as an apt opener for this show. Next up was crust/d-beat/hardcore quartet Whelm. The stage in this room is low in height and not big enough to fit any more than the drum kit and backline, so most members of this band set themselves up on the floor, which instigated moshpit violence, specially when the vocalist urged the crowd to step closer. The guitarist broke a string and tried to fix it, but the band didn’t want to hold up the show for too long, so he just carried on. Whelm warmed up the crowd excellently for the bout of sonic insanity that was to follow.
Several performances may have been described as ‘intense’ or ‘insane’ in the history of this website, but the next band Authority Figure put on a show that could very well write the definition of those adjectives. Their extremely sludgy heaviness was accompanied by an out-of-control high-energy exhibition from their vocalist, as she sprawled on the floor even as the crowd moshed in a circle around her. Because she performed on the floor, it was hard to see what she was doing for those standing in the back, but such was the intrigue that many people moved around to other parts of the room to get a better look. The band kept it heavy while the vocalist put forth a demonstration of true performance art, and it made a stunning impact.
The crowd barely had a chance to recover from Authority Figure’s onslaught, and it was time for The Body and Full Of Hell to step on and around the stage together to begin theirs. Vivid memories of one of The Body’s past LA shows came to mind, when they played a tiny art space in Santa Monica in 2013, the walls of the building shaking and the light bulbs flickering due to the sheer heaviness of their sound. This was a completely different setting and performance, but had an equally long-lasting effect on the audience. The Body and Full Of Hell certainly complement each other with their hugely varied individual musical styles, and as expected, the result of their union is deadly. The room remained dark for the opening acts and the in-house lighting rig which occupies the ceiling, probably indicating that the venue is frequently used for a lot of dance/night club type events, was not used until the headliner started. The usage of these lights throughout The Body and Full Of Hell’s set was very efficient and judicious, and certainly enhanced the impact of the music, as the sonic and visual elements held the crowd in a trance. These bands converted this place into an altar for heavy music and gave these underground music supporters a show worth remembering for a long time. In an unlikely combination, The Body and Full Of Hell are obliterating all creative boundaries to present something truly unique, and those with the urge to explore would find this collaboration not only interesting to listen to, but well worth experiencing live.
Overall, a short, precise, to-the-point statement of great underground music from this Crash The Clubs presentation, and one hopes for more, specially at this venue.
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The Body + Full Of Hell remaining tour dates:
08/25/2016 – Austin, TX @ Sidewinder
08/26/2016 – Ft. Worth, TX @ 1912 Club
08/27/2016 – Little Rock, AR @ Liver Fest
08/28/2016 – St. Louis, MO @ Pu Fest
08/29/2016 – Kansas City, KS @ FOKL
08/30/2016 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
08/31/2016 – Milwaukee, WI @ Frank’s Power Plant
09/01/2016 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
09/02/2016 – Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary
09/03/2016 – Toronto, ON @ Coalition
09/04/2016 – Buffalo, NY @ Sugar City
09/05/2016 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
09/06/2016 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
09/07/2016 – Philadelphia, PA @ 1st Unitarian Church
09/08/2016 – Boston, MA @ Middle East *
09/09/2016 – Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel *
09/10/2016 – Providence, RI @ Machines w/ Magnets *
* = w/ Gas Chamber