Lightning bolts have always been an image of power. Zeus could rain destruction on whatever puny human city he chose with a well placed bolt chuck, and humans head for the hills (or their houses) whenever the sky turns black and the thunder begins to roll. Everyone knows a blast of electricity from the heavens is dangerous: it can burn buildings, turn forests into uncontrollable firestorms, and, in the case of the punishing Rhode Island noise duo Lightning Bolt, melt faces. After one minute of the insane drumming, otherwordly shouts and calls, and searing guitar of Lightning Bolt, you’ll be convinced that they are indeed a tool of mass sonic destruction. If you’re skeptical, you’ll have a chance to test your mettle (or is it metal?) in Indianapolis when Lightning Bolt, Phoenix Bodies, and Edifice perform at ES Jungle on Friday, October 8.
|Video of Lightning Bolt performing “Dracula Mountain” live at Halloween; Lightning Bolt will be playing in Indianapolis October 8|
The music of Lightning Bolt, though at first listen chaotic and off the cuff, is actually a well composed morass of effects, musicianship, and composition. An exercise in dissonance, a Lightning Bolt album can be a trial to get through: though the band is just a duo, the two instruments take up so much fuzzy space in the mix and hit so many notes that it feels like at least a dozen buzz saws and cannons are attacking your eardrums at once. Brian Chippendale is a beast on the drums, whaling away like an angry octopus on his surprisingly small kit. He seems to be everywhere at once, beating out a tribal rhythm on the floor tom while cooking sizzling jazz taps on the ride and absolutely crushing the snare. He sings too, though “singing” is a fairly loose definition: the mask he wears at live shows comes equipped with a telephone receiver that’s broadcast through the band’s amps. The result is indecipherable yowls and chants that add more chaos than reason to the band.
|Video of Lightning Bolt performing “Ride the Sky” live; Lightning Bolt will be playing in Indianapolis October 8|
Chippendale isn’t the only galvanizing force in Lightning Bolt; his dynamic drumming would be nothing without Brian Gibson’s modified bass attack. Gibson’s instrument doesn’t sound like a bass: it’s heavy buzzsaw thrash guitar turned to eleven, individual notes are sharp stabs of sound, low end chords make chugging industrial riffs, and all of it is loud loud loud. Chippendale and Gibson have perfect chemistry, changing time signatures and tempos with a glance, one backing off while the other takes center stage, effortlessly transitioning between songs, and hitting each note in perfect sync with one another. At first glance, madness. At second glance, perfection.
|A video interview with Brian Chippendale, the drummer for Lightning Bolt; Lightning Bolt will be playing in Indianapolis October 8|
Lightning Bolt officially formed in 1997 in Rhode Island and recorded a slew of 7 inches, singles, and one full length LP before hitting their stride with 2003’s Wonderful Rainbow, an album that garnered the band national attention. The follow up, 2005’s Hypermagic Mountain, earned enthusiastic reviews from Tiny Mix Tapes, Stylus, Allmusic, and The Stranger, solidifying their place in the annals of noise rock. The show at ES Jungle on October 8 is the first time that Lightning Bolt will be making an appearance in the Circle City; Indianapolis music fans, known for their love of louder music at venues like The Emerson Theater and The Dojo, should immediately cabbage on to the breakneck sound of Lightning Bolt.
|Video of Lightning Bolt performing “Colossus” live; Lightning Bolt will be playing in Indianapolis October 8|
Though Lightning Bolt is certainly the most well known band to take the stage at ES Jungle on Friday night, an Indy favorite will be making a one off comeback for loyal fans on the same night. Phoenix Bodies, a local hardcore band that has been together and not together for some six years, will be complementing Lightning Bolt at ES Jungle. The Indianapolis band is reuniting for the show, and there couldn’t be a better reason to come back. Their debut release, 2006’s Raise the Bullshit Flag, was a compilation of frenetic political punk, fusing lots of grindcore chugging with spastic instrumentation and satirical lyrics. The album was called “chaotic, borderline psycho post-hardcore” by Metal Hammer and hailed as “non-stop rock of the rawest kind” by Drowned in Sound; the release earned Phoenix Bodies a lot of recognition in Indianapolis media circles as well. Though certainly less original than Lightning Bolt, Phoenix Bodies doesn’t care much about originality: noisy bad-assery is enough.
|Video of Phoenix Bodies, an Indianapolis band, performing live in 2007|
The third band performing at ES Jungle on October 8 will be Edifice, an experimental progressive group from Colorado that will also be making their first Indianapolis appearance. The band cites a diverse set of influences, ranging from A Perfect Circle to King Crimson, Muse to Pedro the Lion, and their music reflects those influences. Less chaotic than Lightning Bolt or Phoenix Bodies, Edifice utilizes delayed guitars, electronic strings, synths, and touch guitar to create symphonic compositions with an edge. The band certainly has a flair for the dramatic–they’re a prog band, after all–but it never conflicts with the tight performances and driving melodies on their first full length album, Arc Mentis. Edifice will allow Indianapolis music lovers to ease themselves into the extreme dissonance of Lightning Bolt and Phoenix Bodies; their sound has a chaotic tint, but still has a recognizable structure.
|Video of Edifice performing “Biomachines” live; Edifice will be playing in Indianapolis with Lightning Bolt October 8|
For one of the craziest shows in Indianapolis in October, head to ES Jungle on Friday, October 8 to catch Lightning Bolt, Phoenix Bodies, and Edifice. The Indianapolis music venue will be swarming with unbelievable drumming, chugging bass riffs, searing speartip notes, delayed reverb washed guitar melodies, and plenty of swagger. This Indianapolis event is more than a match for any Indianapolis noise fan, and earplugs in the tiny venue are a must for all but the most hardened music fans. The show starts at 7:00 p.m., and tickets are just $10 at the door. To witness the true power of the magnetically charged skies, you only need to witness Lightning Bolt, Phoenix Bodies, and Edifice in action at ES Jungle on Friday, October 8.
Lightning Bolt, Phoenix Bodies, Edifice at ES Jungle
Friday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m.
6151 N Central Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46220
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