Oliver Brink

WIRE brings DRILL back to the West Coast for the first time in 4 years!

When I was seventeen I went to “The Warped Tour” in San Francisco. I had never been to a festival and it was definitely a bit mind blowing. The concept of walking from stage to stage strategically placed in a given area, with an enormous lineup of bands, having to pick and choose which bands to see and which bands to miss, was thrilling to say the least. I continued going to bigger and bigger festivals after that (Coachella, Sasquatch, Treasure Island) until about 2010 when I ultimately began to feel jaded by them and I haven’t been to a single festival since. So here we are in 2017, I am now in my 30s and I’m going to another festival. This one, however, promises to be a whole different experience entirely. Since around 2013, English post-rockers WIRE have been curating a festival called DRILL. The catch with DRILL is that it doesn’t rely on gigantic locations and 100s of bands but, instead, focuses on smaller venues and puts more energy into bringing diverse musical styles and bands, both new and old, together. While, thematically, many of the bands are linked by the post-punk, darkwave, dream pop genre, it is safe to say from past DRILL lineups that it promises to be an exciting and unique experience.

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Another landmark release from the post-punk forefathers, Silver/Lead is a true treat for listeners new and old.

Any band that can keep it going for longer than 20 years deserves a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The relentless love and pursuit of enjoyment through music is no easy feat, and many bands live a flash-in-the-pan life for the most part. The bands that endure not only have to find ways to be fresh with changing trends, but also have be 100% true to themselves, which, in many cases, will alienate or polarize fans. Wire has now hit the 40 year mark since they first hit the English punk rock scene in 1977 with Pink Flag. Despite their aggressive beginnings, they shifted to a more atmospheric post rock genre, while still occasionally playing with punk staples, and their upcoming release Silver/Lead continues in this fashion.

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The garage-doom record you always wanted, but were too afraid to ask for

Album cover for Crystal Fairy's self-titled debut

Album cover for Crystal Fairy’s self-titled debut

If 2015 and 2016 were any indication, 2017 has certainly shows that supergroups are coming back to the forefront in a big way. While this is nothing new in the music scene, it has become more apparent, recently, that supergroups pose a necessity for most musicians, to escape redundancy and to experiment with new sounds. In the early 2000s, many big collaborative albums were produced, but were always under the guise of guest vocalist and musicians. It left a manufactured tone about the record, one that felt as though the labels were just trying to squeeze dime after dime out of shifting paradigms in musical taste. A true supergroup combines all the best attributes and skills of the players to create something fresh and exciting, for fans and musicians alike. It doesn’t always work, of course; Giraffe Tongue Orchestra is an excellent example of an extremely talented group of musicians whose full length album left far too much to be desired. The Dead Weather, on the other hand (featuring Jack White, Allison Mossheart [The Kills], Dan Fertita [Queens of the Stone Age], and Jack Lawrence [City and Colour, The Raconteurs]) have made a number of albums that continue to grab people in one direction or another. So when it was announced that King Buzzo and Dale Crover (Melvins), Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes), and Omar Rodríguez-López (Mars Volta, At The Drive-In) were joining forces to create Crystal Fairy, the prospect was definitely a positive attention grabber.

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Dark industrialists stun with spectacular visuals and dizzying energy

The Black Queen

The Black Queen

It was a dark night at the Rickshaw Stop on 12/28. Droves of music fans, clad in black, funneled in throughout the evening to enjoy the darker side of synth music, and while some folks are near impossible to please, it was pretty obvious that this was one of those nights that would be remembered. It’s not often that an electronic music show is perfectly curated, but clearly The Black Queen was not screwing around when they booked their tour mates.

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Boris 01

To say that Boris’ performance at the Fillmore was good is an understatement of the highest degree.  Though they are Japanese, they came to San Francisco like Romans.  They saw, and they conquered.  Playing the Japanese track list release of their seminal 2006 album ‘Pink’ they completely owned the stage.  Woe to she/he who was not wearing ear plugs because this band plays LOUD.

First of all:  Anyone who says women can’t play guitar can get back on the Misogyny Train with a one way ticket to “Fuckoff Town,” because Wata destroys the guitar.  Does she explode around the stage like your most punk/metal/rock/insertsomethingovercompensatingHERE person?  No.  But that couldn’t possibly matter because her absolute control over her instrument and her ability with it shine spectacularly.

Earth 04

But let’s backtrack a little bit.  Tour mate’s and opening act, Earth, got the crowd started with their unique western styled sludge metal.  They played 5 songs in their 45 minute set, all of which drew in attention like the white flash of a nuclear blast.  Clad in white cowboy hats, the guitar players clearly needed no bass (especially with a beautiful moog pedal to replace it) and were in their grandest element before a packed house.  I kept seeing images from Sergio Leone westerns over their music which was, in my mind, a worthy replacement of the already wonderful Ennio Morricone scores.

If you think playing the drums FAST is hard.  Imagine playing them slowly.  There is nothing harder than to play slowly (as far as I am concerned) but Adrienne Davis is 100% unperturbed by downbeat half-time tempos and wrecks on the drums in a way that is utterly fascinating to watch.

Boris 05

Throughout the night, all I could say was “What a fucking show.”  That is what was delivered.  Whether you like their music or not, you got a memorable performance.  One for the books; not to be forgotten, etc. etc. etc.  Between Takeshi’s masterful double neck Bass/Guitar (just look at the god damn pictures), Wata’s shredding leads, and Atsuo, the hype master’s, precision drumming (complete with gong bashing insanity), you could not ask for a better show.

Boris + Earth

And just when I thought, “How can they top anything that I just saw?” Instead of an encore set of anything recent, they brought Earth back on stage (completely) and played an epic sludgey jam to close the night.  How often do you get to see 2 drummers and 4 guitarists (one who can switch from bass to guitar at will) just rock the fuck out together for 8 minutes?  The answer is not very often.  If only you could have been there!
They’ll be in Los Angeles tonight and continuing the rest of their US tour throughout the next month or so and they are NOT to be missed.

Earth Setlist: Introduction/Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor | Even Hell Has Its Heroes | The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull | Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon | Old Black | High Command.


Boris Setlist: Blackout | Pink | Woman on the Screen | Nothing Special | N.F. Sorrow | Pseudo-Bread | Afternburner | Six, Three Times | Talisman | Are You Ready | Electric | My Machine | Just Abandoned Myself | Farewell | (Encore) Ouroboros Is Broken (Earth cover w/Earth)

Setlist based on Previous and Following concerts dates where the setlist was identical.

*More photos will be added at a later date.


A world of lush, ethereal soundscapes, reminding us that it’s still possible to explore new worlds in the modern age of music

Briana Marela - All Around Us

Briana Marela – All Around Us

In 2015, Briana Marela took off for Iceland to record her third album All Around Us. While the inspiration of Reykjavik and the music of Bjork are evident, the album is a beautiful contemplation on emotional honesty. Its messages are clear and concise, while the arrangements are emotionally soulful and filled to the brim with a translucent beauty, beckoning us to come and see rather than turn a blind eye.
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Album Review: The Black Queen, Fever Daydream

March 1, 2016

Over the last 4 years, Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan has been a busy, busy bee. Aside from constant touring with his main band, and the incredible release of their 2013 work One of Us is the Killer, he somehow found time to form the supergroup Killer Be Killed with Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Nailbomb, […]

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Album Review: Gardens & Villa: Music for Dogs

February 1, 2016

  There’s something about the 70s that has gripped so many facets of artistic expression across the board. Be it the New Hollywood filmmakers adding a gritty realism to a stagnant studio sound stage system, or the embellishment of fusing musical genres, the 70s were an exciting decade to be an artist. Lately, many musicians […]

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