Lightning Bolt on 420: une petite odyssée

Poor Photo from the Back by: Author Sanguine

Poor Photo from the Back by: Author Sanguine

Sorry Lightning Bolt, was this review supposed to be about you? For those unfamiliar, think a drummer like Keith Moon on Meth (Brian Chippendale) and a bassist with a banjo string (Brian Gibson) playing really distorted, fast, loud and harmoniously repetitive noise.

Getting to the front of the stage was a process given the holiday, but well worth it. So was the experiment of losing one earplug so only half my head is now about to explode. Getting to the front was like riding a wave. When The Crowd was pushing back, I pushed forward and locked in, when the undertow came back to the front I let go and flowed up. After flowing to this pattern, I got to the line just in front of the stage. People at the front never want to move. The ridiculous[ly loud] harmonics were blowing my mind. Maybe it was just so loud I was making the noises up in my head. Either way it was a beauty.

the goal is to not let your insides be crushed from the weight of 100 people splashing against your backside, prolapsing your anus.

Sorry, I don’t know the playlist, their song names are amazing but difficult to remember since Lightning Bolt has one speed: faster. Eventually, after half pushing, half trying not to kill the petite female identified person in front of me, she bailed. Opportunity! I moved in to the very front where I found respite from the crowd in an odd way. Given the holiday, this was quite the mental and physical triumph.

420 is a dumb holiday. I should have learned by now, but for some reason I keep forgetting. The day always starts out with such promise, but by the middle of the day, all those plans you had are now fading away. It was tough to get myself to pep up, but I found my nth wind and kept at the day. Moral: don’t make plans on 4.20 unless you can plan to not partake until during your said plan.

At the front, it was calm – in a manner of speaking. It’s less of a sprint than it is an endurance test, one where the goal is to not let your insides be crushed from the weight of 100 people splashing against your backside, prolapsing your anus. At this point, I couldn’t help but let the latent homosexual within me make comparisons of being repeatedly banged from the back by a large gang. Each smash I would grimace and grunt. Different from an EDM mass of people jockeying for a better position, there is less pretense of love and familiarity at the Lightning Bolt show, so the mass is slightly less passive aggressive and more direct. There is a respect though, it didn’t seem anyone was out to hurt anyone else.

I nodded my head slowly in a tranquil trance to the rapid beat. I enjoyed every moment at the front. My apologies to any inappropriate touches to others within the mass as I forgive those who inappropriately touched me. Unfortunately, I assume it is easy for some to distinguish between honest touching versus not. I’d say the ratio was about 65% male. So many heterosexual men simply too afraid to indulge, so we fill venues like the Turf Club for our release. There were so many pushings on my guts against the stage that my insides hurt now.

Near the 4th to last song I recalled my girlfriend, whom the holiday was not treating as well, was in the back. Moving out from the front took some intentional Letting Go. Giving up and slowly being bumped backwards, yet so often being pushed very hard back toward the stage. Eventually, I touched the back wall, and there she was. I drove her back home, a mere few blocks from The Turf and was back for the 2nd to last song.

I tried the video game on display that bassist Brian Gibson has been creating; it was kind of lame (granted: it was The Holiday). It needs some work, I can’t tell if I’m moving forward or if I’m going fast. I couldn’t get past the beginning (keep pumping “A”?) and lost heart. It looks cool and the sound design could make this float with some gameplay enhancement.


In the past the two Brians would play on the floor, but honestly I’m grateful they have moved up on stage, I’ve had some bad experiences when the musician plays on the floor, it’s good for maybe the first two rows then it just sucks. Their past albums have been essentially an attempt to recreate a live experience, with their newest being a more studio-centric approach from leftovers of those older takes. Having been around since the 90s, I don’t know if this change means these guys are getting tired and cashing in on old glory, or maturing and trying a new approach.

I missed the opening act, Hardcore Crayons, which I heard were really good. I enjoyed the portion of Jet Legs, I heard, especially the post-rock drone portions near the end. At the very end of the show I ordered a Bourbon, neat, which was a mistake.


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