Industrial rock and noise fans were treated to an intimate performance at Elbo Room Jack London this past Saturday, June 23rd in Oakland, CA. Touring in support of their new album, “Sorry About Tomorrow“, the East Coast electro-punk project This Wilderness performed with support from their tourmate Xambuca.
This Wilderness features some heavyweights in the industrial music scene, including Jim Coleman from Cop Shoot Cop and Phylr on keys and production duties, Phil Puleo also from Cop Shoot Cop, as well as Swans, and vocalist and lyricist Robert O. Leaver, who produces music under the Birdthrower name when not engaging in public performance art. Together, the trio performed a set that was dark and humorous, with moments of melancholy.
Leaver’s vocal style is crisp with a gritty edge and reminiscent of a more reserved Douglas J. McCarthy from Nitzer Ebb, and he spent time joking and interacting with the audience between tracks. Whether or not his story about accidentally crashing into Mary Tyler Moore’s bedroom in a landscaping accident is true is up for debate, but I want to believe.
Coleman’s production work on tracks like ‘Full-time woman’ offer something close to chiptune with lo-fi synthesizers and noise, with more traditional guitar and blown out samples layered on top. Coleman often bombarded or interrupted Leaver’s attempts at chatting with the audience with sampled vocals and noise, lending additional humor.
Drummer Phil Puleo offered the intensity and focus he’s known for in Swans performances, and he kept the pace going with precise drum work.
Experimental noise artist Xambuca closed the night, immersing the crowd in walls of static, thuds and beats courtesy of a folding table completely covered with samplers and other gear.