Sunday, May 26, 2013

Southern Ultraviolet

Kylesa / Blood Ceremony / White Hills
Slim's, San Francisco
May 25, 2013

Oddly, it's been 2 years since I last saw Kylesa.  Their last scheduled S.F. show in 2011 didn't happen when the tour was cancelled due to an illness in the band's family.  Prior to the show I stopped at the most awesome Cathead's BBQ for fuel.  It's basically around the corner and I would urge the Umlaut Nation to check it out since it's a better culinary option than DNA Pizza (Sorry DNA..).  Then me, myself, and I made our way over to Will Call and slipped into Slim's as White Hills were playing.

I was torn about White Hills because on one hand I liked their fuzzy, stoner tone but it seemed to lack *something*.  In the end I'll give them a thumbs up because their onstage energy was good.  I won't waste too much of your time giving my .02 cents about Blood Ceremony.   I've seen them before but I couldn't remember why I didn't like them... until I saw the flute onstage.  Flutes are not Metal and having a flute solo in pretty much every song made me feel extremely homicidal towards all woodwind instruments.  One time at band camp...  Anyway.

As I said earlier, it's been awhile since I last saw Kylesa and the fanboy energy seems to have gotten really awkward now.  In between bands a couple of complete hipster dorks (I'm not judging... I'm just calling it as I see it..) debated each other about society's "war on women".  I guess it's O.K. to major in Women's Studies if you're a dude.  If it helps you talk to girls then more power to you, kids.  I almost wanted to ask their thoughts about how cool it is that Laura of Kylesa plays a Les Paul Gold Top and Tobacco Sunburst just like fellow Southern guitar great Duane Allman... but I didn't.

Kylesa continue to successfully mine that fertile Southern groove of their homeland and combine it with some of the best elements that Prog Rock and Metal inspires.  It's a diverse sonic hammer with a healthy side of collard greens and weed.  The band's new album isn't officially out in the U.S. until next week but the new material seeded nicely with the older songs.  The new songs like 'Exhale' seem more aggressive on the percussion side and it effectively drives Kylesa's Prog side to a harder high road.  I need to really sink into the new album Ultraviolet now that I have it.  'Unknown Awareness' is the lynchpin in a Kylesa set for me and when it was unfurled in all of its complex sonic glory the rest of the crowd seemed to agree with me.

Maybe it was a combination of the more profound fanboy contingent and the appeal of the band's current Prog Rock elements, but the pit action tonight was, while definitely energetic, also very comical.  I'm not judging... I'm just calling it as I see it.  There was Hopping Guy.  There was Killing Joke Tour T-Shirt Guy who knew the words to every song and punched the air as he sang along.  There was Girl Wearing Bullet Belt dancing like she was at a Grateful Dead show.  There was Hipster Sunglasses Guy who held his hands together and swung them around like he was playing golf.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that it wasn't a SLAAAYEER pit... but that's alright.

Number of times I was recognized because of the recent Decibel magazine feature = 2 (Thanks, guys!).  If you bought one of every Kylesa merch item you would have paid around $250 I think. They had a lot of merch including a sweet tour-only speckled purple vinyl of the new album for only $20.  On the way back to car, some pimply faced teenagers called me a fag.  I'm typing this as I enjoy some Sunday morning coffee listening to the new Kylesa album and some Allman Brothers.  If you can't comprehend the musical connection then your record collection needs some work... Just saying.