Monday, August 10, 2009

Landmine Marathon - Live at the Knitting Factory, 8/9/09

Grace Perry seeks and destroys,  Knitting Factory, L.A., 8/9/09
Photo courtesy of oldhcdude

The normal course of events: there's a band up on stage, there's you and me in the audience, the band does its thing, we react to the set with a bunch of feelings that get funneled into just two distinctions: "good" or "bad." You chat with the band, tell 'em they did a good job, ask what their tour plans are. Everybody drinks beer and throws goat and goes home. Hooray! 

A Landmine Marathon concert isn't that simple. Just watching the Phoenix fivesome on stage feels kind of uncomfortable, like you're watching porn for the first time and you're fascinated but at the same time worried that someone will catch you in a private moment. The bands plays burly and raw -- there's some serious catharsis going on here, and Landmine Marathon's affable offstage demeanor is nowhere to be found. Bassist Matt Martinez stares intently at his four strings like he knows they could pop any second. Mike Pohlmeier flagellates his kit into submission. You can tell it pains him to beat it so hard, but he beats out of love. 

Landmine Marathon in a rare moment of repose
Photo courtesy of oldhcdude

And then there is the case of Landmine Marathon vocalist Grace Perry, the most magnetic, and flexible, frontperson in extreme music. Her performance is completely physicalized -- she hurls herself at her bandmates and spends more time on the floor, or bent over in communion with it, than she does upright. Grace Perry should have her own action figure. Every screamed phrase, she contorts her body a little bit more; if you're lucky, she'll lunge off the stage right into your face during the closing number. As she wraps herself in microphone and guitar cords, that seals the deal: there is no separating her music from the body that makes it. They are one and the same. The broken nose she sustained during a house party gig two nights before the Knitting Factory show? A testament, a blood sacrifice. Perry makes you believe that music is more than just vibrations of air molecules. It's a living thing, embodied by over-stretched muscles and shredded vocal cords. 

On disc, Landmine Marathon reanimate the flesh of the early Earache grind/death catalog. Live, the comparisons don't matter. The band commands eyeballs. You might even forget to drink beer and throw goat. Yep, that was good. 

Landmine Marathon are currently on tour with Prosthetic labelmates Book of Black Earth (reviewed here). Click the below image for tour dates.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

I'm extremely excited to check this band out in a live setting...if they ever come to Chicago, of course