haarp, Drone Throne, And A Hanging Blow Out The Birthday Candles
Siberia had a good crowd for this Monday night show. But it wasn’t an ordinary event either; it was co-owner and bartender Daphne’s birthday bash. The always heavy haarp, Drone Throne, and A Hanging came out to play during the party. The notoriety of the lineup was noticed by the local newspaper, a surprise I found while looking at the weekend's entertainment, in which it got a short write-up and included a picture of haarp’s guitarist Grant Tom playing at the same bar of this night’s show. I was able to get footage of all of the bands, the bellydancers, and some fun interludes with band members and regular concert-goers. You can watch the two videos below.
A Hanging began the night’s festivities. The newspaper article described A Hanging’s sound as black metal thrash, but speaking with bassist Bobby Bergeron and Scott, they cannot describe the sound, being such a mixture of hardcore, punk and metal. It was also one of their first shows without Alix, the female vocalist. Guitarist Scott Walle, who sang backup vocals previously, now mans the mic full time while laying down awesome riffs. While Alix did a great job singing, Scott does even better, in my opinion. Beginning with “Breton Sound,” his baritone growls and short hardcore sputters compliment the blazing fast short numbers, broken only by the heavy, mid-tempo breakdowns when Bobby matches Scott’s riffs and does short solos. A request from the crowd to play “Trouble” was granted. The rest of A Hanging’s set was “Blood and Spit,” “DMZ,” “Singing Over the Bones,” “Black Box,” “Graft,” “Sweet Nothing,” “Crucify Him,” “Oroborus,” “Food For Rats,” and “Minotaur.”
The mother/ daughter duo Moonhoar prepared for an intriguing show as a cake was presented to Daphne. They soon graced the stage, and, after some technical problems, began to dance. The gorgeous women gaited around the stage in dark red robes that covered their entire bodies and heads when the atmospheric music began. One stood in front of the other and raised her robe forming brilliant wings before abandoning the robes to reveal their beaded bikinis, which shook furiously when they bellydanced to the melancholy sound of horrifying growl sputtering words and strange guitars backing him. A second song started and they donned black Anubis masks. Writhing, grinding, and bumping, matriarch and offspring dazzled the audience with their sensual show.
The only non-local act of the night set up following Moonhoar. The young band Drone Throne of Arizona switched the fog machine on high then began to play. This band really impressed me; great metal with a rock attitude, but no shtick that would devalue it. The heavy-handed crash of Taylor’s drums would slow the pace just enough to create suspense before the two guitarists Garret Ranous and Alex Rollins and bassist Andy Labarbra shredded their heavy chords while singing together. Although they formed this band in the last three years, the sound seemed very mature; steadily-paced, menacing rhythms with so much force and heart behind the booms of every note. Eventually, so much fog had filled the place that they had to shut it off, lest the whole bar became a white out, which only lent to the excitement welling up from the audience getting into the band. Drone Throne even dedicated a song to the man who goes to every metal and punk show, Hollise Murphy.
Moonhoar did another interlude dance, this time with a more celebratory dance appropriate for the occasion. Wearing scary clown masks, the ladies danced in their polka-dotted tulle skirts and other circusy accoutrements, including a baby doll.
At this point, it was getting pretty late for the working stiffs of the scene. haarp hasn’t been playing around quite as much this summer as the group was previously. But that’s because the band is busy writing and recording a new album, two songs of which haarp premiered at the birthday show. All of the group's summertime blues were released in this performance, one of the more energetic I’ve seen this year. After rushing to set up the gear and begin, Shaun Emmons sang in his raspy voice “Happy Birthday,” meant for Daphne… and himself. It turned out it was he was celebrating his birthday too. Then he said, “We’re haarp.” When the signature growl of Grant Tom’s guitar played, Shaun almost immediately thrust himself into the crowd, cutting through like a blade, grabbing collars of fans and friends and harshly screaming louder than the p.a. system. The new songs were akin to the slow, trancing, heaviness haarp is known for, but sounded fuller to me. Everyone got into the groove, just like Grant and bassist Ryan Pomez do when they sway slowly, creating the beat with their bodies first, and then letting it out through their instruments. Keith Sierra all the while adding the silvery cymbal crashes that caught attention over the low music.
This was absolutely one of the more fun shows I’ve been to in a while; filled with good friends,, great music, and cake. I can't wait for the next birthday in scene.
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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