NO FRILLS METAL: RWAKE AT CLUB MIDWAY
Club Midway in Alphabet City has one of the smallest (it holds maybe one hundred people, maybe), most intimate concert areas I’ve ever been to; this is the kind of place you go see your buddy’s band play, not the venue you’d expect to see a Relapse recording artist- let alone one as revered as Rwake. Yet it ended up being oddly fitting; this is real, no frills metal, with a genuine home cooked feel to it. The difference between Rwake and so many of their peers, this performance would make clear, is that Rwake are genuinely just six people making the most brutal music they can, with no compromises whatsoever; there’s nothing fashionable about them, and there isn’t meant to be.
I have to be honest: I’m not yet familiar with Rwake’s discography beyond their recent, excellent release, Voices of Omens (you can read my review of that album here), so I can’t speak specifically to the set list. Not that it matters: with a bare minimum of banter in between songs, the evening often felt like one single, half-hour-plus performance piece. Slow, moody, atmospheric, and somehow furious and beautiful at the same time, Rwake’s brand of progressive metal doesn’t have use for simple hooks and breakdowns and doesn’t give two shits about clean singing; this is underground metal, real underground metal, and it’s difficult to imagine an arena setting could ever do it justice.
And this band is TIGHT. Drummer Jeff pounds the skins furiously without ever losing his sense of tribal groove; singer Chris Terry headbangs and convulses like a preacher before his congregation, and B., hunched over her moog, ocassionally joined him in his howls, turning deep red as she burst forth with an explosion of sudden, visceral energy. Meanwhile Gravy and Kriffin’s guitars made exquisite noise, every so often adding soulful, blues-tinged classic rock-style solos to the proceedings.
With some bands you get a show, and with some, an experience. Rwake live are an experience not to be missed.