Live review: This Will Destroy You, Sleep-Over @ the Larimer LoungeBy Billy Thieme | May 26th, 2011 | No Comments »
Texas — as big as it is — still doesn’t seem enough to hold the crescendoing, symphonic sound of This Will Destroy You when the quartet is at its cathartic peak. The Larimer Lounge, on the other hand, didn’t have much trouble flexing the ceiling and walls to accommodate an almost-too-long set by the central Texans on Wednesday. The show was a conundrum: Large and loud enough to engulf and transfix the two-thirds-filled house with sheer volume, but compacted in such a way that it didn’t seem too overwhelming.
It came close to shows by bands like A Place To Bury Strangers — a band known for piloting aircraft carriers of noise, fog and strobes over crowds — where the sound is built up into a chaotic mess. But TWDY played their set in almost total darkness, and showed a mastery of their compositions that the former band simply doesn’t possess, or just doesn’t care about.
Songs — or, more accurately, installations — began with Donovan Jones calmly stroking a few keys that invoked the guise of American Analog Set as Alex Bhore shimmered cymbals and approached floor toms for a few minutes. Then, after a repetitive buildup of samples and loops, the two guitarists would explode in a sonic avalanche that literally caused fans in front to step back for a second.
The ensuing sweep was close to some later Swans material — deliberate, massive swaths of noise that you could tell were being molded, sculpted in exactly the way this foursome intended. Each wave of reverb-drenched feedback purled well into the next, and every crash cymbal and pulverized bass chord answered with the proper envelope.
For more than an hour, these small symphonies shook the Lounge, melding one into the next, which made it nearly impossible to differentiate between them.
The comfort and somnambulistic charm of the group, however, wasn’t lost on the crowd. When the last sounds faded, there seemed to be no more energy left.
Openers Sleep-Over played a treacle-sweet set of dreamy synth-pop that recalled Cocteau Twins to warm up the growing audience. This mostly-girl group perked more than a few ears that night with a sound that felt like a stroll through a foggy, Twin Peaks-style forest of huge Douglas Firs.