Saturday, October 20, 2007
Wolves in the Throne Room...
It was a cold and rainy day, similar to many in the black metal meccas of Northern Europe and the Pacific Northwest....
I went to see these guys last night at this joint called Death by Audio, which is an illegally operated space formerly occupied by some subset of the NYC DOT. Its illegality was evidenced by the fact that the promoter intermittently told large groups of loitering metalheads (but not hipsters) to scram. I guess I look 'hip' enough so he only told me to scram when I was hanging out with more "metal looking" people. I hung out with some locals, offered to help random bands move their stuff, and looked at Moog keyboards and Sunn amps at the local music shop until I went in to witness some cheesy techno-rock band ply their repetitive wares.
My friend Serge was there with his little math teacher. We went out, sat on some steps, and made up horrible black metal songs about ducks.
Somehow I made it to the front row when Wolves were playing. They played the middle 3 songs off of Diadem, which was absolutely fabulous because that is an amazing album. We were right behind the 2nd guitarist Rick, and the drummer (who wore a feather in his cap) was just going spastic. It was incredible that he only had 1 bass drum. Their equipment wasn't fancy at all- regular guitars, no bass, shitty drums, and the generic Korg that had been on stage since the beginning of the show. None of them had any musical training. They just played by ear, channeling the wild spirits of black metal and the woods and nature and all that jazz. Being too poor for special effects, they sounded just like they did on the album- which is good, unlike many of even the overproduced BM bands out there.
So me and Serge got sick of the place and went to find a bodega to get quarter water and pineapple sodas. Later that evening, a group of wandering NSBM kids professed to me their love for ghettofied soda and invited me for a drink, which I declined in favor of hanging out and helping the Wolves move their random boxes of stuff. I asked them about the NSBM thing and it turns out that they weren't racist (one was hitting on me!), but proud of their roots. I didn't see what was so Hitler-approved about the Polish culture (which they came from), but whatever floats your boat.
I was supposed to interview the Wolves for my ethnomusicology project, but they were too tired and couldn't think straight. Nathan told me to touch his shirt and it was quite, quite moist. After every falling-apart box and sack was tucked into the van, we squeezed into the malfunctioning vehicle and started dashing madly westward. I was dropped off in a random part of Manhattan and eventually made my way to the train station. And now I'm here on Long Island, typing away on my malfunctioning laptop.
A few notes about the Wolves:
They are the sweetest, most adorable bunch of bohemian boys. Aaron goes absolutely crazy on stage with his falling-apart drum set. Nerds and Burzum fans love them. They don't live in a hut in the woods, but on a normal small town organic farm. Nathan runs an all-ages club. They aren't involved with any type of black metal craziness and they dress like normal people and shop at Goodwill, et al. They eat random band chow and their roadie reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite. Carnegie Mellon kids are so lucky that this wonderful band actually went to their school. My school got fucking Kanye West.