The National Sawdust is a performance space that usually hosts avant-garde, experimental, indie, jazz and world music acts. So to get to see an intimate show by a very influential post-metal band was a special and memorable treat.
Starting with the space itself, a small architectural marvel designed by the firm Bureau V in New York. A white music hall built around the possibilities of sound with many obtuse angles and high ceilings, an unusual venue for a metal show. The architecture feels like a syncopated piece of free jazz, which in the end made complete sense.
The evening started with a fantastic set by hip-hop dark wave experimentalist DÄLEK. His mixture of beats, soundscapes and fierce delivery were the perfect setup for the show.
Once the dark tone was set, the three musicians known as SUMAC took the stage. Guitarist and singer Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer), drummer Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and bass player Brian Cook (Russian Circles, These Arms Are Snakes), created their usual sonic attack, building a heavy crescendo of riffs and growl vocals with improv passages.
During the show the band introduced songs from their brilliant new album Love In Shadow, taking their sound to a new level; a multidimensional piece exploring personal themes for the band, with striking instrumental work, pounding drums and a heavy bass which create the perfect contrast for the heavy riffs and dissonant guitars of Aaron Turner. The result: an emotional yet aggressive piece of music of controlled chaos.
Surprise guest: Alan Dubin from the band GWAN.
PHOTOGRAPHY: A.F. CORTÉS