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The Bronzed Chorus And Elvis Division

April 10

Doors: 7:00 pm /

Show: 8:00 pm


The last time drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally were in a band
together, they were the rhythmic architects for Fugazi, an organization
whose decade and a half of disciplined progressivism provided a necessary
bridge between the zenith of late-punk expression and everything
alternative in rock that followed. In 2016, the two were enlisted by
guitarist Anthony Pirog in a conspiracy to subvert and reimagine the power
trio, bringing fully into the 21st Century a form that may have reached
near perfection with Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys on the very first day of the

With a self-titled recording scheduled for release in the Spring of 2018 on
Dischord, the Messthetics will widen the reach of a decisive instrumental
music that so far, they have only shared with a privileged handful of east
coast and southern audiences. Across its eight original compositions and
one cover, Anthony guides the sound through complex changes and harmonic
densities that might compound, but never confound or muddy its connection
with the listener’s body. Recorded by Brendan in their practice space, the
group’s debut gives Anthony ample opportunities to swap guitar textures and
styles as freely as an octopus changes patterns.

Brendan’s kit has a big heavy bell that he brought back from the Fugazi
days. He maneuvers through this rhythmically shifty music with a fluid
briskness that is periodically disrupted by the clang of his bell. Joe
spent 8 years in Italy, among other things, woodshedding on eastern rhythms
counted in 7 and 13, perfect preparation for the oddly-metered work of the
Messthetics. He brings a rock-solid foundation to the groove at the same
time playing a harmonic complement as ambitious and interesting as
Anthony’s lines.

Bands can be dangerous when their members have accrued enough mileage to
see their chops season into something like musical wisdom. When that
understanding has the rare opportunity to percolate through a collaborative
environment founded in love and anchored in gratitude, well, then shit can
get rather intense. Anthony Pirog writes difficult music because original
music usually is. Yet the ideas that he feeds through the Messthetics, are
embraced by the Canty-Lally time machine, not just with precision and
nuance, but with soul, joy, and groove. These last three are, indeed, the
big guns in this spiritual war that music must become in the post-Trump

The initial concept was to mix noise/improv guitar with dance grooves – a
kind of apocalyptic dance party where the beat keeps you moving, but the
guitarist relentlessly terrorizes you. The first track, “Mythomania”
retains elements of that posture, but as reality has itself become more
daunting, Anthony – a fearless guitarist – has moved closer to his
listeners, and is now willing to astonish without being so confrontational
about it. That doesn’t mean the Messthetics in any way retreat from the
responsibilities of a “hard” sound, just that its volume and edge never eat
the bold structural ideas that define this new music. Anthony will even
lubricate his tricky time signatures with energetic two-note riffs to keep
the listener head-bobbing through the twisting structures. And when their
collective voice is thick and heavy (like on “Crowds and Power”), it is
neither ponderous nor plodding. Their performances and this debut
recording have a lift and buoyancy that reflect back into the audience the
love and gratitude at the foundation of this trio’s journey

— Thomas Stanley

The Washington Post Article

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