The Shape of Things to Come

The Sightings have been around for a few years now, and were the headliners at a show I wrote about recently. They have several albums out, including their excellent LP Through the Panama, released last year.

This is the cover for Through the Panama. I was going to take pictures of the show but my camera is broken.

The show was an RNR 666 event, and the bands played at Corvinteto (please excuse the lack of Hungarian diacritical marks), a multi-story bar/café/movie theater located above Budapest’s first-ever department store, which was built back in the commie days and hasn’t made any concessions to trends in modern retailing. It looks like a warehouse with low ceilings and rows of florescent lights illuminating racks of useless merchandise with the occasional bored clerk waiting for her shift to end. I went in there once and the only other customer was this old woman in purple with a limp who kept coughing as she shuffled around, touching things.

The store atop which rests Corvinteto. This image can be found in its original context here.

The Sightings came out and introduced themselves, announcing that they hailed from Ronkonkoma, Long Island. The band is three guys making music that sounds like a radio transmission from the future. And it seems that the future is going to be a super fucking rad slimy David Cronenberg latex surgery hell world where bands like this pass for pop music. Thank god.

Weirdly, the Sightings have your standard power trio singer-guitarist/bassist/drummer lineup. They sound nothing like a power trio. I have no idea what effects gizmos this band uses, but their guitars make weird ghostly noises, or sound like handfuls of change hitting glass tabletops in slow motion, or anvils dropping on piles of undifferentiated meat at the bottom of a grain silo, or odd pulsating emanations—infrequently, they sound like distorted guitars. Out of this emerge songs—amidst all the reverb and delay, there are these structured songs that guide you forward amongst the strange, looming blocks of sound. It’s noisy material that seems like it should be difficult but it isn’t at all.

On Through the Panama, the Sightings are pretty nuanced. Sometimes the material is cold and sterile (in a good way), but it also crosses into territory that’s almost heartfelt, while also being really creepy. Live, they’re more unhinged; dynamic waves of huge, echoing noise bouncing and crashing, spilling forth and receding while the drummer propels the songs along, sometimes messing with piles of effects stuff. It's the sound of the shape of things to come. After seeing them, I was surprised that more bands don't sound like this.

The Budapest crowd warmed up to the Sightings' weird barrage fairly quickly. From what I’ve seen, Hungarian audiences can be a little reticent with the applause at first, but unlike, say, New York crowds, they aren’t the least bit jaded. Bands that venture outside the bounds of the typical Euro tour circuit can really leave a serious mark on the crowd. And at this show, there was a small group of people up front, staring at the goings on like they were downloading secret commands into their cortex. And they were. Those that were susceptible to this kind of music were being activated. That’s the kind of thing that can only happen once. I’m glad I was there too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you can find few pics in my photoalbum:

or i can send you them in email