Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Tera Melos and Zorch (Austin)

         When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I was debating the pros and cons of driving to central Ohio (and back) in the middle of the work week for a three-band show at The Basement (Columbus OH), but then I thought of all the great acts I've missed forever because "I just couldn't make it." After that, it was much easier to accept the responsibility that came with the day, and it payed off.
         The night started with SRVVLST (pronounced "survivalist"), a melodic math band stationed in Columbus, promoting their new EP The Seven Year Inch. After their half-hour set of nonstop melodies and heavy-as-a-brick-to-the-mouth beats, the four piece left the stage to let Zorch set up. I met up with the guys at their merch table during the intermission to buy a single and compliment their tightly woven set, and aside from usual formalities they were all nerding out to be opening for Tera Melos. It was cool to meet a band who had their chops together so well without an ounce of pretense.

All we had was a prepaid camera phone.
         Zorch (Austin) has everything they need to be America's next big two-piece like Suicide, Kicking Giant, or the original Zorch, but I don't think they want to do that. I don't know what's going on there with the name, but I suppose they've reached some sort of agreement. Just like their forefathers, Zorch is pushing the limit of experimental electronic music with influence from Psychedelic and Pop music alike. Their opening song pounded through catchy synth hooks with Shmu singing "What a day, let's celebrate it/ I wanna feel elated" to the organized trainwreck that is his own drumming. Throughout the whole set there were psychedelic animations of Darth Vader, hallucinogenic Care Bears, and other awesome nonsense projected over the whole stage. During the intro to "Zut Alore," keyboardist Zac Traeger stood up to announce "This next song is about our Reptilian Overlords. Kris Kristofferson might be one of them."

         I didn't know what to expect from Tera Melos. In their four-album career they've gone from instrumental prog math to minimalist pseudo-pop without skipping a beat or losing any fans along the way. Pulling mainly from their Patagonian Rats LP and their newest title, X'ed Out, they controlled the audience like the Reptilian Overlords Zorch was talking about. I was really surprised when they strolled back to their Drugs to the Dear Youth EP days and played "Spoonful of Slurry" with the intro and first verse of Weezer's "Undone" injected into a couple of the stops. Near the end of the set, some people started chanting "hot dog man" in reference to the scarecrow that adorned the stage with a hotdog for a head, at which point guitarist Nick Reinhart negotiated with the audience how much longer the show would go on, saying "We've got a setlist. And we can either play one then leave, pretend to be done, then come out and play the last one, or we could just play both of them now." After a show-of-hands vote, the band remained on stage for the last two songs and closed with fan favorite "Skin Surf."

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