Ilsa, Bodycop, Inter Arma, Braveyoung
At the Corpse Fortress on March 6, 2010.
Area metal mainstay Psi-Dogg Cohen put this show together, and he did a really good job of curating an enjoyable evening of entertainment for individuals such as yours very truly.
A clever young man only a quarter of a century old, Psi-Dogg wants to figure out how things work, make some connections and ultimately earn a living by fingering fretboards, Marty Friedman-style, and producing true art and deep thoughts. He’s off to a good start.
This was the second (or possibly third) big Inter Arma show that Psi-Dogg’s done at the Corpse Fortress, a punk house/venue that’s been on the scene in Silver Spring for five years or so.
In his time in the scene, Psi-Dogg’s also curated and promoted a couple of indie-rockl shows at other house venues around town.
This show was local metal master Dylan Griffith’s birthday party; the anniversary was celebrated substantially.
Incidentally, I once saw Dylan and Psi get in an argument about which of them is more metal. Naturally they turned to me as the final arbitrator. I said Dylan, for sure, because he is a chain-smokin’, ax-shreddin’, face-punchin, hard-drinkin, truck-towin’ long hair. I mean, come on, Psi.
More than 100 people paid to get into this show.
A lot of kids were singing along to Ilsa.
I pointed this out to Ilsa’s singer afterward and he said something like, “Oh, really? That’s cool. The thing about our lyrics is that a lot of them are spells.”
Ilsa is the kind of band which opens sets with a minute or so of deafening feedback. Knowledgeable local music fans consider them the heaviest band in D.C. and also possibly the most nihilistic. They play locally all the time and they’ve been in a lot of earlier bands and the individuals are often found during the daytime nestled within the beating heart of the D.C. punk community in its various guises. They’re named after a Nazi sexploitation flick from the 1970s.
I have it on good authority that these dudes are into some bad stuff. My friend says that they make evil look good and consequently are one of the forces undermining civilization. I saw painted on the subway walls these words: Ilsa shines with the glow of those committed to wickedness. I realized one night, as if in a dream, that they hold the devil by his hand when he is frightened. I’ve seen them encourage a youth’s suicide; just kidding.
A few years back, readers may be interested to know, several members of this band played in Time of the Wolf, a group deemed “Too metal for me” by Maximumrocknroll itself.
It would be utterly facile, but true, to say that Ilsa summons dark forces.
I ruled the pit during the Illness, because not only do I like Ilsa’s music, I also sincerely appreciate the guys in the band on an interpersonal level. A.
Everyone had been telling me that the band Bodycop was great and everyone was right.
Moreover, Bodycop offered me something I’d never really seen before. It was pretty out there; it was fresh. The singer was enchanting, bewitched and consequently bewitching, emitting hellish utterances through a pitch-shifter while the band behind her locked into simplistic loops and invasive hooks somewhat reminiscent of the sound of an alien landing or a construction project in hell, on acid. The singer performed without inhibition or control of her faculties. I had heard repeatedly that she was a great frontwoman and I’m pleased to again join the consensus in good conscience.
People say Bodycop is like Swans, but I’ve never heard that band. I’m not sure if this is because BC is derivative or simply happened upon a sound brought to some slight prominence within some sub-genre roughly two decades ago; probably the former.
Other people may say that Bodycop is not really musical and is really more of a sensory assault and grotesque spectacle, or that BC is a “cool band” that it’s “hip” to “like” because “the cool kids in the scene” are in the band, and the nattering nabobs who whisper cynicisms are probably right, as always.
However, being cool, I like Bodycop. I didn’t get into punk for ritualistic reenactments of the sub-cultural signifiers of days gone by. Apparently, what I got into punk for was the Swans. A.
Incidentally, my friend Garrett was probably particularly comfortable in the Corpse Fortress basement that evening, for not only did he once reside there, but he also played in both Ilsa and Bodycop! A.
Another band that played this fateful eve, Inter Arma, wasn’t as fast as they were last time that I’d seen ’em, nor was there as much shredding. Still, I hope they’ll book my band in Richmond one day. A.
Braveyoung was somewhat incongruous on this bill, playing last and chiming out some sweeping, shimmering, dreamy post-rock. It was like Godspeed!; it was pretty like a glacier in the wilderness. Women swooned; drunk on my own power, I sat on the washing machine, getting the spins and snickering to myself.
There were a lot of people I really like at this show and the music was great. It was the most fun I’d had in a long time and it was an apt summation of why I moved back to D.C.
Seen on the Scene: Maurice “Space Cowboy” Alvarado (A Warm Gun), Sasha “Good Times” Rex (Make it Happen zine), Zomawio “Chino” Sailo (the ultra-Coits).