Black Tusk only plays hometown shows a couple of times a year, and you never know what’s going to happen — or who’s going to show up.
Actually, there’s one thing you know will happen: Andrew, James, and Corey will slay the room with their increasingly tight, sometimes-manic melding of sludge metal and punk.
Black Tusk is headed for Australia and New Zealand in early August, and then they’ll be headed out on an extended fall tour later in the year. They’ll play Damnation Festival in the UK in November. So Saturday’s show at Sulfur Studios wasn’t exactly your usual Black Tusk gig or venue. The all-ages space doesn’t have a stage or appropriate lighting — it’s a freaking art gallery after all — but Black Tusk sounded as powerful as ever and the guys seemed to relish the feeling of playing in a cheaply finished basement (acoustic tile and all). I’m sure it was a night to remember for the teenagers who showed up.
Cray Bags — “the artist formerly known as Crazy Bag Lady,” Josh Sterno said between songs — brought their usual stuff, and their usual stuff is pretty great. The band has stretched out a little from the in-your-face retro punk that first grabbed the city’s attention, and I sure hope their second album gets out into the world soon. Our own Petee Worrell has already written a review of an advance copy of Beauty Love.
It would have been a great night with just Black Tusk and Cray Bags, but Saturday’s show also marked the debut of Lies in Stone. The four-piece might be new to the scene, but its members sure aren’t.
Victoria Scalisi, of the legendary and influential Damad (several of whose members founded Kylesa), fronts Lies in Stone, and her heavy, growling vocals were probably the loudest sounds of the night. Astonishing. Victoria didn’t drop completely out of the scene — she was also a member of Karst in the mid-2000s — but I could feel some what ifs lingering in the crowded gallery. Lies in Stone also includes drummer Scott Cooper (also from Damad), bassist Ben Maher (Dead Yet?), and guitarist Burke Stewart, who seems to live life in a perpetual spotlight. You will be hearing from them again.
Given the lousy lighting, the limited venue, and my occasional resorting to flash, these photos aren’t quite what I usually do. Click on through for lots more: