After Carnival, most New Orleanians were probably catching up on some much needed z’s this Sunday night, but the post-rock enthusiasts were drawn to the Republic for This Will Destroy You. Late last year, TWDY began celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their debut EP Young Mountain and now they are on a winter tour with Emma Ruth Rundle and Deafheaven.
This Will Destroy You is a loud, instrumental band originally from San Marcos, Texas, but are now based out of Los Angeles. The band was formed by guitarists Chris King and Jeremy Galindo in 2002. Since formation, they have had a few temporary band mates/touring musicians play bass, keys, and drums, but maintain that the core of the band is its two founding members. Stylistically, they can be described as cacophonous, climactic and just plain noisy, but they also delve deep into ambience and dreamscape-ish instrumentals. They rarely feature vocals, and if they do, they are obscured.
At about 8:45, Emma Ruth Rundle took the stage and began to sound check. Things went a little behind schedule, as the sound checking usually happens before the patrons arrive, so each band’s set was cut a bit short. ERR put on a retro, alluring performance. Her music was a powerful, distorted reverb pop with vocals reminiscent of Tori Amos.
After another, even longer sound check for TWDY, the band threw caution to the wind and started playing before thoroughly mixing the levels. It was not a regret, however, because they sounded spectacular. The bassist/keyboard player currently on tour with them is Jesse Kees, and the drummer is Robi Gonzalez from the band A Place to Bury Strangers. They started with “The Mighty Rio Grande” from their self-titled debut, which has a soft, memorable intro that proceeds into a wall of heavy guitar droning and layering. The group’s dynamics are outstanding. They find such unique tones that allow melodies to stand out even in what seem like swirling, chaotic explosions of noise. But of course, at closer listening, these messes of sound are actually very calculated and composed. Jeremy sits in a chair and rocks back and forth with his guitar, entranced by the waves of vibration, while Chris attacks his strings in the tremolo style and pilots his spaceship of effects pedals. To the crowd’s great pleasure, they also played “Dustism,” the single from their newest album which exhibits a glorious bass line. They would have played “Burial on the Presidio Banks,” however with a reduced set time, they skipped right on into “Little Smoke” from their second album. In the climax of that tune, Chris lays down his guitar and screams incoherently into what appears to be a jack or input cable, if not a tiny mic, that gives his voice a distorted, lo-fi filter. They left the stage with the audience’s eyes wide and mouths all agape. Deafheaven followed.