Monday, July 17, 2006

Six Organs of Admittance review

Six Organs of Admittance / Eyes and Arms of Smoke
The Dame in Lexington, KY

It’s not easy for me to describe the Lexington, KY band Eyes and Arms of Smoke. Onstage they are two guys, and one girl, Robert Beatty, Trevor Tremaine and his wife Sarah, looking almost huddled together on the left hand side of the stage. Though, considering how sparse their music is it seems natural for them to want to stand together. I can’t imagine Sarah all the way on one side of the stage with just a mic and a cabasa in her hand waiting for her cues. She would seem too lonely. The band’s music is one part noise, one part art project, and one part drone. Parts of songs sound like actual songs and then others like sound effects of a horror film. Eyes and Arms of Smoke aren’t necessarily much to watch. There isn’t a lot of movement onstage aside from a few hops from Trevor here and there but, truthfully, they convey their music in such a way that you’re less concerned with watching as you are with listening anyway.
I was unsure of what to expect from a live show from Six Organs of Admittance. This is a band with several albums varying in degrees of experimentation. What I was afraid of was that I was going to have to sit through an entire set in which the band played one 45 minute song that may or may not even contain lyrics. Luckily, this was not the case. When the band took the stage they immediately began playing, they were (purposefully) playing out of time and seemingly making up this introductory jam on the spot, relying on physical cues to indicate changes in the song. The band appeared almost oblivious to the crowd before them, interacting with one another throughout their set and only addressing the audience once to simply thank them and the opening bands. However, this did nothing to hinder the experience of seeing them live and perhaps even added an air of mystery to the three stoic men onstage.
SOofA’s frontman, Ben Chasny, has a charisma about him that I wasn’t anticipating. Seeing this person from whom this voice emanates is compelling enough, but he is also very captivating to watch. He is very physical onstage, thrashing about during upbeat, loud songs, and sometimes trying to manipulate his bass player’s sound by going up to him and pushing on his fretboard with his shoulder. Every sound the band is making is mirrored in some way by Chasny’s movements.
Ben Chasny ended the set by himself, playing the only encore song alone. It was a slow song that showcased Chasny’s beautifully solid and dark vocals. An unexpected but great way to end a colorful set. With Six Organs of Admittance sometimes there is chaos but when you strip all of that away you are always left with the beauty.

Eyes And Arms Of Smoke - "Black Hoists of Dawn"
Six Organs of Admittance - "All You've Left" music video

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