Young Widows / Helms Alee / No Flowers - live in Allston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Young Widows / Helms Alee / No Flowers

live in Allston (2014)

live show

It was hard to pass up this solid trio of experimental, sort–of–but–not–really–metal power trios playing a 10–minute walk from my apartment. No Flowers was up first, and it was actually their first show, even though the band is in the full swing of releasing three EPs this year (ONE came out in February, TWO in April). They include two ex–members of long–defunct locals There Were Wires and their post–metal spinoff Disappearer, plus one of those dudes currently plays in Doomriders, so you knew this would probably be good. And it definitely was. Not really far off the lane the headliners of this show occupied, it was a genre–less mashup of post–punk and metallic lumbering that was very enjoyable and even catchy at times, played quite tightly for a first gig with enough effects pedals to satiate dynamic–craving nerds like myself. They kept the rock going with minimal breaks during a 20–to–25–minute set. Absolutely a band to keep an eye on.

Helms Alee's a band I haven't been able to fully immerse myself in for whatever reason, but their live energy and relentless ferociousness is pretty undeniable. The long–haired co–ed three–piece roared through their noise rock–blasted, sludgy metal without reprieve. Though it didn't interest me enough musically to consider giving them another shot at their studio material (including their recently released album, Sleepwalking Sailors, which people seem to really dig), I definitely didn't mind watching them beast through 40 minutes or so, like a Mastodon record with psychosis.

Though I saw Breather Resist back in 2005 and got into Young Widows just a couple years after that (I believe with 2008's Old Wounds), this was my first time seeing them. Evan Patterson's carried over his crazy, blinding lights installed in his cabinets from BR, providing the only illumination of this back area of the Great Scott bar and sometimes abruptly shutting them off for effect, constricting and dilating pupils jarringly. As most listeners are aware by now, though, Patterson and bassist Nick Thieneman navigated an almost weirder musical route, a smorgasbord of noise rock, post–hardcore, shoegaze, drone, stoner grit and even a bit of Krautrock repetition that's codified a bit with their new album, the pretty excellent Easy Pain. The band must think it's pretty excellent, too–they played just about the whole damn thing, which took up nearly their whole set. It was something I was very okay with, though, as they resequenced its tracks into a powerful and physically draining performance. I was exhausted just from trying to pay attention to every word Patterson would murmur and every deafening, locked–in groove the band would dip into (I almost keeled over during "The Last Young Widow"); I can't even imagine how they felt by the end of it, especially with the long closer at the end of the encore. During "Gift of Failure", about halfway through the set, you could see sweat began to visibly stream down Patterson's fretboard. But the energy never stopped, like a ramped–up, smoggier version of Patterson's brother Ryan's band, Coliseum (who I'd seen play the same stage in September, actually). With the abundance of new material, it's hard to imagine what seeing earlier incarnations of the band were like, but I was very grateful to be graced with the trundling snarl they currently peel off so well.

Set list (11:28–12:17):

Doomed Moon
Kerosene Girl
Cool Night
Gift of Failure
Bird Feeder
King Sol
The Last Young Widow
Encore (12:18–12:31):
The Money