The Best St. Louis Noise/Experimental Shows: September 2013
No Age with Ghost Ice and Trauma Harness at The Billiken Club.
8 PM | $5 (for non-students only)
The SLU-based Billiken Club often hosted musical miscreants in years' past. This relaunch is a return to form with a full pile of noise. No Age from L.A. cruises through on its latest LP, An Object, out on Sub Pop Records. The still-born child of many '90s ne'er-do-wells, No Age takes what old heads used to call "indie rock" and crams it through a woodchipper. The result compacts guitar into fierce rhythmic boxes while throaty croons chug along. The guitar here manages to fill in any craving for bass or keys, and does so through a pile of footswitch tricks. There's a fulcrum between rock and full-on feedback squalor; No Age occupies that space with succinct sound, calling on a focused, minimalist approach.
Ghost Ice hits noise with control, pushing a feral ambiance through two towering speakers. Truly in stereo, white-washed walls of static race around. Perceptions of synthetic versus organic sounds become challenged. Don't bother seeking audio or video online. With over ten years of shows, Ghost Ice remains for one purpose - the performance. Even if one were to find a crummy video online, no handycam can capture his live sense of spatial confusion. Trauma Harness bridges whatever gap remains between noise and post-punk.
Although Billiken Club shows were (generously) free, budget cuts force a new approach. More sounds per pound are offered if you're into double dipping. Catch No Age on the 16th, and freeload right into Lapalux (from Essex) the next night. Save your ticket stub, though. That's how you get in.