Dead Pilots got ALL fucking weird during their thrashin' set. Photo: Matt Brunk
On the second day of Crucialfest 3, the music gods looked upon Kilby Court and decided, “This is where the rock shall be.” A little slice of all-ages paradise, Kilby Court is a great venue tucked away in the back of an alley. The only downside is a serious lack of air conditioning, but fantastic lighting and sound makes up for it. Besides, it's the summer—if you're not sweating, then you're not trying hard enough. One of the most fun things about Kilby Court that doesn't really translate to a lot of venues is also the easygoing, casual vibe. “Casual” is the best way to describe Kilby all the way around, with the open garage door in back and courtyard full of stickers with a firepit flanked by park benches. Not a half bad way to catch some tunes and make some new friends.
The first act for the day was a special treat, an experimental one man act under the name of Jim Fear, utilizing looping guitars and a full pedal board to provide fairly intricate music before queuing up frustrated vocals and trippy lyrics. It took awhile for people to start filtering in, but once they did I'd say the crowd enjoyed it. Unfortunately, complicated songs with lots of looping lend themselves pretty easily to a few errors here and there, but I liked Jim Fear, and I like how much he manages to do by himself without having to resort to a laptop and a backing track.
The next performance was another treat, the formerly instrumental band, Machines of Man, debuting a major sound change with new vocalist Austin Bentley (also the keyboardist for Disforia) as well as Christopher Kim from Hearts & Hands on guitars. Keeping with the heavy, technical sound that they refined during their instrumental time, Machines of Man puts on a great show with a big sound. Bentley doesn't have a lot of stage presence yet, but he packs a lot of power into his vocals both clean and growled, and I highly agree with their choice of a vocalist to carry their sound forward. A little bit power metal, a little bit progressive—it's a combination that will not be denied.
The touring band for this show was Seattle band Sailor Mouth, stopping by SLC on their way back home from their West Coast tour. Taking things in a more grungy direction, Sailor Mouth has a mean sound with a lot of that Southern vibe that seems to be going around lately. Lead vocalist Kale Tegman, aside from having an awesome name, has tons of stage presence. Hair flying as he threw himself from one side of the stage to the other, hopping on top of the monitors to roar at the audience—this guy has crazy eyes and his showmanship proves why. Chatting with the band after their set, it sounds like the Seattle music scene is getting a little too hipster for its own good, defiling the legacy laid down by Alice In Chains and Nirvana with techno and freaking folk music, but it's bands like these that give their scene back some credibility. Sailor Mouth fits in just fine down here—I'll say that much.
Second to last was a band that I was very excited to catch for the first time, local metal dudes Dustbloom. Featuring vocals by Ian Cooperstein (also the singer for Visitors, whom I much admire
), Dustbloom has a little bit of a Deftones vibe, with similarly sweeping vocals interrupted by crunching guitars and explosive howls, but it's a vibe that comes and goes. They're a lot heavier than Visitors, and it's nice getting to hear Cooperstein's vocals backed by something with so much weight behind it. Both bands are equally fantastic, and I recommend checking out either. I also have to give theatrical credit to drummer Cameron Jorgenson (also the bassist for Visitors) for his bandana-disguised and Speedo-adorned appearance, which made an already-excellent drummer that much more entertaining to watch, and to Cooperstein for having the craziest fro and beard combo of the night. Bravo, brave sir, bravo.
Wrapping up the night was Dead Pilots, a band that I was warned about beforehand due to the shenanigans of singer Nico Lee, described by Cooperstein as “a combination of the live show of letlive., but with the music of Converge.” I can't comment on a firsthand comparison, but I've heard of the infamous letlive. shows, and Dead Pilots is pretty fucking nuts. Spending most of the time screaming into the audience's faces when he's not literally climbing the rafters or wandering into a dark corner in the back of the venue, his bandmates are almost as crazy, smashing the shit out of drums and guitars alike. Ending the set with a collapse into chaos, one guitarist trying to kick over the drums while the drummer falls off his stool onto the ground, a panting singer finally sprawling out on the stage and yelling at everyone to go to Burt's Tiki Lounge for the next half of Crucialfest—I've seen some closers, but that's a closer. I enjoyed the hell out of their set. An incredibly energetic hardcore jamfest, my only complaint is that I really can't find anything from them to listen to online, so I guess I'm going to have to see another live show if I want more—which is not a problem in the slightest.
Thanks to all the bands and everyone else involved for making this show memorable. Don't forget to check out Wild Wasatch Media's video recap
, and look out for SLUG coverage of the rest of Crucialfest!