Show Review (House of Blues, Hollywood, CA)

    Dressed in their
    customary black, the members of the Warlocks are lurking in the shadows
    of the swirls of fog, strobe lights like heat lightning. It’s a murky
    mix of bodies up on stage, the two drummers beating a slow and wicked
    tattoo, and the air is humming and crackling. Yeah, it’s an old trick–
    adding one instrument at a time to create a heavy tension and
    anticipation as the crowd waits for the song to break –but it’s an
    effective and electrifying one. The Warlocks are masters of these ebbs
    and flows, and that gives a seamless fluidity to their live set.

     

    [more:]

     

    They’re
    like the ocean, pulling away and then crashing back down on the beach.
    I love that pulsing in my body: every nerve is set on tingle, and I
    can’t stop nodding and keeping the beat with my entire body, savoring
    the buildup into the song I recognize bubbling up through the swampy
    intro, the psychedelic sounds running their hands up and down my entire
    body creating a delicious warmth. And then the song explodes.
    “Isolation” is engaging on the band’s new record, Surgery,
    but live it is like Frankenstein after that initial bolt of energy or
    the incredible hulk after he turns green — a whole new beast that’s
    totally alive.

     

    The
    Warlocks need to be heard live to be really appreciated. The songs take
    on a whole new immediacy — the band’s records are just mere hints at
    how commanding and huge the songs really are.  “Cosmic
    Letdown” and “Come Save Us” are like baptismal water, and I’m swimming
    through the layers of music to find that the meaning of life is hidden
    within their ripples. Its one of those nights that renews my faith in
    music, a life-avowing ritual that reminds me why I love going to gigs
    so much in the first place.

     

    Tonight,
    the Warlocks, opening for the Sisters of Mercy, only have about
    forty-five minutes to take us on their head-trip. The members make the
    most of this short time, though; their wall-of-sound homage to the Velvets
    and the Jesus and Mary Chain is enrapturing. They’re on and totally
    connected. About halfway through the set, during a short break between
    songs, a fired-up yet blissful Bobby Hecksher intones, “Los Angeles,
    oh, my beautiful home, weird, and warped and fucked up.” He is clearly
    enjoying himself, playing to his adopted home. The Sisters would be
    better off not trying to follow the Warlocks. Their sound seems
    emaciated and muted compared to the neon, voluptuous hymns the Warlocks
    pummeled us with.  

     

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    The Warlocks Web site

    The Sisters of Mercy Web site