Jucifer Rolls Into New Orleans In Their Awesome Van
Band Photo: Jucifer (?)
As the fog rolled in on the warm, balmy night in NOLA, so did the fans of Jucifer. Not just the average metalheads, but artists, punks, middle-aged/middle class men and women, and about anyone else you can think of. The infamous huge stack of old but very powerful amps, instruments, and all kinds of weird electronic devices filled the side wall of Siberia and rose to the ceiling. It was apparent that they would be performing on the floor lengthwise of the venue because their equipment was too much for the stage.
Spickle is beloved in their native city. They mix many different sounds into a punk kind of metal. Fast beats with slow, heavy breakdowns. No vocals, just pure rock. Gregg Harney and Paul Webb throw down some guitar god riffs that can range from EyeHateGod sludge to surfer tunes and some psychedelia tossed in just for fun. Kenny Sumera is a talented drummer who keeps everything in time whether it be fast, crazy, or anything else the band can throw at him. Bret Davis rivals the guitarists by playing right alongside them. Luckily for us, we get to see them fairly regularly.
The next band was one that doesn’t come around often for me; with a sound so amazing I can do nothing but watch, mouth agate and eyes fixated. Hailing straight out of Kansas, Midnight Ghost Train began a beat then vocalist and guitarist Steve Moss started singing “John the Revelator” in the most amazing southern preacher voice you’ll hear outside of a prayer tent in Mississippi as bassist David Kimmell and drummer Brandon Burghart responded to his calls. After learning about John, the threesome launched into their brand of awesome fuzz-toned southern psychedelic rock metal (as best I can describe it.) As Brandon would lay down a heavy stomping beat, Steve would play a sludgy riff and David would lay down the rattling bass lines. They managed to make the crowd clap along at times and had others combining jogs with headbanging. This is definitely one band I want to see again.
Darsombra was indeed interesting. Just a man with a guitar, mic, and Mac. Connected to the Mac was a projector showing a movie of colorful dancing spots over pictures of him and his girlfriend who was sitting nearby. Darsombra played disconcerted fragments of strums through various distortions, throwing up a windmill arm with each strum as the film showed behind him; his silhouette in the middle of the screen. To mix things up, he would forsake the guitar and get on his knees to sing howls into the mic, also heavily distorted before moving back to the guitar. The noise and psychedelic love story on the silver screen didn’t create a very magical atmosphere for me. But it was interesting.
Now for your main attraction. I wanted to see what those mountainous, aging monoliths could do. I wanted to see what this prolific, yet mysterious husband and wife duo was capable of. As I sat at the bar, a woman veiled in a black velvet hooded cape scuttled past me, doing all to hide her face. As I watched her go to the stacks and start pushing the magic buttons, I realized it was Amber Valentine, the guitarist and vocalist. My anticipation was pushed almost as high as the amps. I would perform in their full costumes that I’ve seen in pictures; never have I seen their faces. But Amber and co-conspirator and drummer Edgar Livengood played in their civilian rigs, but all the majesty and grandiose was still attached. Smoke billowed, making the bar look like outside, a litany of spinning colored lights and floodlights perfectly choreographed to their music. Edgar would bang the drums with all of his might; standing up then jumping and crashing on them with all of his weight. And no ordinary drum stool would do. He was sitting on a beat up vomit green waiting room chair from the 70s. It withstood his crashing better. Amber gets my vote for baddest metal artist who happens to be female. Her blonde locks hid her face as she growled her guts into the mic. She did contortionist backbends while still headbanging and riffing the long, distorted down-tuned notes. And, yes, that entire wall of ancient audio equipment was loud. So loud that the waves would travel through my shoes and my jeans vibrated with extreme force. The mirrors rattled violently. I was surprised nothing broke. Not one word was spoken by either, they just kept blending one song into the next. It was an amazing set, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Even though there are some great shows coming up in NOLA, this one will test their metal. Great acts (maybe except one, but the hilarity made it fun) made for a night packed with good times.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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