Pig Mountain, Red Sun, Mon Frere, Portlit Cove
Aug. 8, 2011
The Deal: While in Philadelphia, I had the privilege of meeting and watching Before the Eyewall, a brutal sludge/stoner metal band from Columbus, Ohio, that had played with Pig Mountain while they were touring. When I told them where I was from, they not only paid compliments to Pig Mountain, they mentioned another band from their hometown, Red Sun, would be playing at the Milestone with the Pig Mountain boys. After arriving home, the Pig Mountain guys confirmed this rumor for me and talked up Red Sun. So, because Red Sun came highly recommended by two sick bands, and considering they were playing with my favorite sludgy goodness at my favorite venue with two hardcore bands I hadn't had the opportunity to witness, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to experience a night of hardcore and sludge while seeing what else was going on in Ohio.
The Good: Portlit Cove began the night with a set that caught me off guard with its strength. While the vocals were in the more traditional style of hardcore music, the rest of the band displayed some unique qualities within the jams. Funky bass led the well-layered two guitar melodies, reminding me of old Rage Against the Machine at times. Well-harmonized breakdowns were made heavy by the drummer's heaviness, leading the way for passionate, emotion as their vocalist belted out his screams.
With heavy, fast and intricate drumming, almost with a trip-hop feel, Mon Frere kept the hardcore going. While they definitely hold some qualities of traditional hardcore, I've gotta say, they have an original, somewhat psychedelic feel to them as well. Their guitarist plays intricate riffs that define the term technical, but during the less speedy moments, creates shrill noises, leading us away to a calmer, more introspective place before we are taken back down the path of banging our heads to the heaviness of complicated bass lines and echoing vocals. It was almost like a bipolar cycle of hardcore and stoner metal.
There must be something in the water in Ohio because Red Sun is as sludgy and fantastic as their neighbors, Before the Eyewall. Displaying immense talent, they threw us into a pit of warm butterscotch, trapping us in the sweet sludge, bringing us deeper with every note. Complicated, heavy hitting drumming provided the backbone for the slow, yet meticulous guitar and that deep sludgy bass that defines the genre with spare, yet appropriate vocals. They leaned in towards one other, propelling their shirtless, Milestone-appropriate bodies towards each other, sinking into the music they were creating. Heads nodded and feet tapped and people cheered as their drummer kicked through his bass drum. After borrowing a replacement from Pig Mountain and setting it up, their drummer apologized for the fiasco. “Don't apologize! Thank you!” I screamed back at him. There's nothing to be sorry about for playing so hard and even for the remainder of their set, they gave it their all.
“We're Pig Mountain,” King Doob said, “we've got a long road home, a bone to pick and not a lot of brain cells.” I cannot even begin to explain to you what happens to me when Pig Mountain plays. Something comes over me with the deep, thumping drums and immaculately sludgy guitars and my body begins reacting at full force with my foot stomping, my head banging and my torso falling into every beat. Sludge has a special place in my heart and lately, these guys have taken the cake with their Southern flavor added to it all. I appreciate the fact that even over the heaviness they project, you can still hear all of King Doob's lyrics over his own intense guitar, Ricky's deep bass and Dillon's pounding drumming. As “Missing Persons Report” began, everyone went nuts and the floor turned into a frenzy of slowly moving bodies as they screamed lyrics back at the snarling, fierce faces before them. Pig Mountain has a following they certainly deserve and I'm honored to say I know such talented individuals.
The Bad: We couldn't lock the doors and make them play all night.
The Verdict: Most sludge shows that I go to end up being an entire night of the slow, stoner goodness that leaves a permanent grin on my face but exhaust me by the end of the night because the genre itself relaxes me like Enya would most people. I enjoyed that there were two hardcore bands at the beginning of the bill to pump me up to the climax of two fantastic sludge acts that brought me to the tranquil place I was hoping for which still energized in full attention of the music. Regardless of the entire bill, I highly recommend that you see any of these bands next time they play in town. It will probably be awhile before Red Sun comes back through but you can find their music online and jam out in the meantime.