Down In LA: Live Review

By on 18 December 2014

down

Down have recently finished a US tour with Orange Goblin, Bl’ast! and King Parrot in support. Terrorizer’s LA correspondent Joshua Sindell was in attendance, and here’s what he thought…

DOWN
+ ORANGE GOBLIN + BL’AST! + KING PARROT
WILTERN THEATER, LOS ANGELES

It’s the inaugural jaunt of what Down are calling ‘The Punk Rock (But Kinda Not) 2014 Tour’, which is nothing more than their awkward way of saying “If you don’t like our mates’ bands, then fuck off.” But, as a whole, the results tonight should have been greater than the sum of its parts. And they weren’t.

One rather large problem: The Wiltern is a dead zone for fan enthusiasm, with its strict wristband-enforcing and segregation of the die-hards from those who simply paid more to get in the pit. Each band tonight notices how those closest to the stage are downright inactive. So. That sucks.

King Parrot is a band that looks as if it was formed by the members’ parole officers, but the ugly, paunchy Aussies give it a go nonetheless, and admittedly kick a huge amount of arse, dousing the audience in water, high-pitched screams, crusty grindcore Poison Idea-like riffage, naked bums, and again, the contents of bottles and bottles of water. It’s a wonder the pit didn’t fill up like a Jacuzzi.

Local aging fusion-core crew Bl’ast! turn up next, with their ‘My War’-esque angular drone and howling, existential lyrics. Not to discount the powerhouse rhythm section of former Quuens Of The Stone Age players Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo, but Bl’ast! are swallowed up by the big stage, and are best viewed on a far more intimate scale.

Stoner rockers Orange Goblin have succeeded in crossing the Atlantic for another raid of America’s shores, bringing their best songs to date (from the last pair of albums), and new levels of performance confidence from frontman Ben Ward. Yet as ever, their tunes seem to rumble along until they simply STOP, leaving the crowd anxious for something with a bit of a crescendo, knowhatImean? Something to get everyone moving?

Well, for those kinds of riffs, we look to Down to deliver, and repeatedly, they succeed. Songs from 20 years ago, like ‘Temptation’s Wings’ and ‘Stone The Crows’, still hold up; all steely guitar lines, blackened and tar-covered. Unfortunately, Philip Anselmo’s clearly been drinking a bit tonight, and while it frees up his tongue, allowing him to be a winning host, his rambling lack of focus slows down the proceedings a bit too dramatically. And, while the performances remain strong, a certain calcification to the group’s sound may be setting in, notable on new ones like ‘Conjure’. Down remain a pleasure brought forth from the New Orleans underground, these proudly dedicated craftsmen, but their audience may start getting their kicks elsewhere, should the players allow the fire in their bellies to be reduced to embers.

Words: Joshua Sindell

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