The sensation of seeing This Will Destroy You live is something akin to having your ears pleasantly mauled by a musically gifted grizzly bear with a penchant for showmanship. From the start the band adeptly demonstrated that having no vocals in your music in no way means you can’t have a frontman. Looming at centre-stage, Donovan Jones resembled a young Francis Ford Coppola deep into some kind of backyard wrestling grudge match with his bass, and this precision pummelling was unleashed at carefully chosen segments of Saturday’s gig at Rolling Hall in order to further accentuate the vast sonic rapture that the group create.
The uproarious feedback-drenched sections of TWDY’s set had a hypnotic power that simultaneously conveyed a sense of pace but also a darker, stiller side to the bearded four-piece’s music that is even more evident in a live setting than on record. Bathed in a mirky quagmire of strobe lighting and flannel, the band looked like a gang of lumberjacks and truckers entranced in an almost ritualistic post-rock fervour. As the Texan natives pressed on into what felt like unchartered terrain of guitar histrionics onlookers seemed to be filled with anticipation at what fresh eruptions lay ahead while also experiencing some healthy trepidation for the well-being of their ear drums.
Being the last gig of their current tour, the San Marcos locals seemed keen to make it a special night and said as much towards the end of the show. The pincer attack of Jeremy Galindo’s beatific guitar lines and Alex Bhore’s primal drumming continued to carry the crowd to ever-higher sonic altitudes with ‘Threads’ and fan-favorite ‘Three-Legged Workhorse’ being perhaps the loftiest of the evening. Between the humidity of the sweltering underground rock cavern and the effects-laden atmospheric instrumentals, watching this show you are left feeling as if, to quote Tom Waits, “the air is wet with sound.”
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Words by Mike Beech
Pictures by Chris da Canha