It’s pretty wild to think that for one block of North High St. in Columbus, on any given night you might have five different venues hosting live music.
Starting at the corner of Duncan St., you’ve got the venerable Ace of Cups, Ledo’s Tavern, Bossy Grrl’s Pin Up Joint (our personal favorite place to drink), The Spacebar, and the most inauspicious of these, Dirty Dungarees. The sign out front hails them as “Dry Cleaning, Coin Laundry and Pub.” If you simply drive by without stopping in, you’re missing so much more than that.
If you head left after entering the establishment, you’ll find washers, dryers, candy machines, and a few old style arcade machines that might have been dragged across the street from the Old North Arcade. Swing around to the right side and there’s a bar, a few booths, and a small room in the back with a pool table. As I walked through the laundromat I wondered if that was where the bands would be setting up for the evening.
Sure enough, the pool table was converted into a makeshift merch table, and interested heads started popping over from their washing machines to see what all the rumble was about. The idea of having a beer with your laundry is great enough, but if you weren’t expecting it, a concert might take your underwear folding to the next level!
The evening was set up so that concert-goers from the free anti-Comfest Weed Demon/Unchipped show could also make it out for more great jams. Reflex Machine opened things up with their thunderous sound, and they were followed by Brooklyn-based sludge rockers A Deer A Horse. Slow Violence played an energetic album release for themselves, and then it was time for the headliner, the incomparable Pale Grey Lore.
The boys were just a week removed from playing the Maryland Doom Festival alongside bands like Pentagram, Mothership and Conan. Guitarist and singer Michael Miller said it was a thrill to be able to travel to the East coast and play at such a large festival, but it was nice to be back playing at home again. While this show may not have been a festival, the back room and the bar area were full of patrons excitedly waiting for one of the better live acts that Columbus has to offer.
The band cut their set down to six songs and had to bump out guitarist Xander Roseberry’s famed theremin due to space concerns. Roseberry told me that he had practiced singing higher notes just in case he needed to replace the instrument, and laughingly said that he would definitely be ready for it. The quartet was rounded out by bassist Donovan Johnson and drummer Adam Miller. Thus, the living-room style show was ready to go.
A few patrons still had bottles of bubbles left over from the Reflex Machine show and were blowing them in the direction of Johnson, who was all smiles as the band started their set with a new song, titled The Rift. The distortion was cranked as high as it would go, while Adam Miller pounded into his kit for this groovy number. Roseberry provided us with a scalding solo, showing a promise for noise on the band’s upcoming record.
Before The Fall was another new one slated to appear on the group’s upcoming record, due out this fall. The group slowed things down on this one, showing their sludgier, more chuggy side as heads around me continued to bob. The show was incredibly loud but you could definitely distinguish what the band was throwing at you, which I believe is a fantastic testament to their artistic craftsmanship.
The groove was in full effect as the band played fan-favorite The Conjuration, a number that highlights the cohesion of drummer Miller and bassist Johnson. All four of the fellows know how to put a song together and they certainly know how to make you feel it, as shown in Spiders. Roseberry’s delay pedal got a workout on this one, to the point where it almost felt like the sound waves from his guitar were cascading off the walls.
Michael joked about playing in a laundromat between songs (“make sure to wash your ass!”) and spoke about his love for Denny’s, before the band played their last new track of the evening, Undermined. The song had an upbeat, positive feel to it despite the title and showed intriguing promise for the upcoming record.
The final song for the night was Woe Betide Us, another heavy chugger of a hit. It seems as though the band takes pride in making their music as cumbersome and complex as possible, as if to say “we dare you to come to our show and walk out alive.” True to form, Michael graced us with one last burning solo before sending us all on our way.
Although the band (as a quartet) only had three solid years under their belt, you can definitely feel the cohesive unity between the four of them. Anyone I’ve ever met who saw them live definitely remembered the excellence of their set, and they have gained the admiration of their peers as well as fans. I, for one, cannot wait to hear the new record. If the new songs during this set were any indication, it’s going to blow their debut effort out of the water.
- The Rift*
- Before The Fall*
- The Conjuration
- Woe Betide Us
*Denotes new song