By Brandon Carter
Fayetteville – Touring bands Crystal Killers and The Duke out of Chicago, joined by local newcomers Judason Void — made a short stop in Fayetteville Arkansas tonight at the La La Land Gallery on MLK Boulevard. The La La Land gallery is a small, extremely intimate and loosely run DIY venue. They are one of the most active in our local burgeoning DIY scene. Hosting everything from acoustic indie,experimental noise, funk, punk, and anything else you can think of. They bring in small touring bands, and local movers and shakers to create an eclectic and supportive scene. The owners of the venue provide the space, and the electricity, the rest is what you make of it. Accepting only donations for most performances, patrons seem pretty willing to help keep it around.
Around 9pm young Alternative Indie, three-piece the Duke took their places. They ripped through a short set of emotional, high energy, songs featuring some very interesting twists on a genre of music this town hasn’t had a big scene for in a long time. With a little post punk drive, some plucky upbeat electric acoustic fuzz, and wailing melodies they made it all their own. As they twisted and turned through styles and rhythms, you could see the lead vocalist and sole guitarist- Zay begin to gain some more confidence. Bass player Scott- danced around as he provided a heavy but melodic low end. Playing off of the interesting fills and ever shifting rhythm provided by drummer Saul, these two created a rock solid foundation of intriguing and eclectic bases for the fuzzy lead guitar. The passion that poured out of these Chicago up and comers, was palpable and impossible to resist.
Crystal Killers took their places after a short break. Featuring Alan Martinez taking Vocals and Guitar, Rafael Adame on Guitar, Joel Martinez on Drums and Francisco Torres on Bass. Taking a much more rock forward approach to a similar Alternative Indie style as the previous band, they evoked so many different influences. Plenty of heavy distortion, soaring melodic guitar, massive thumping bass lines and tones that varied from uplifting and bright to downright dark and brooding. During a few particular moments, I was reminded of popular Alternative act At the Drive -In. The rhythmic shifts from the drummer and wild, high pitched lead guitar to be specific. They too hail from Chicago, proudly proclaiming their Southside origins. So much so, they wrote a song about their Home, titled Chicago (that they excitedly called “Fayetteville”, for the night as they lead into it). They came touring in support of their album Coming Down from the Calm which is available online via Spotify.
They were a nice, heavier, middle ground between the first act and the final– Judason Void. These Fayetteville natives have created a sound so unique and intense that I can’t stop thinking about it. They’re in the studio currently working on their first album, and have been picking up more shows as of late. Though this band is new to the scene, the players are far from it. The band features Cody Martin on Guitar, Erik Ebsen on Bass, Raif Box on Drums, and Skylar Johnson on Guitar/Vocals/Effects. All of which have played in numerous local (mostly metal, but not exclusively) bands. However, this is nothing like anything they’ve done before it. The influences of their musical tastes, and past body of work is there, but otherwise it’s a beast all it’s own. Rooted heavily in the Shoegaze/ Drone style of indie music, they break down the often monotonous (beyond the intentional level) structure of the genre. With massive fuzzy guitars, insane controlled feedback, huge number of effects, and an ear for creating an atmosphere there’s not much out there like it. The space they’ve created in their music is goosebump worthy– as I experienced multiple times during their performance.
They seamlessly invoke the distorted and dissonant grit of low-fi rock/metal, with sweeping crescendos that reach massive peaks followed by endless voids of space and drone. Wailing, high speed, high pitched, post-rock-esque lead guitar countered by quiet and monotone vocals that fill in the spaces. Together it makes for a slightly sad or remnescent and angst ridden tone. Pushing the style beyond its normal parameters and taking a very adventurous risk. By creating these complex and diverse songs from a combination of genres and pure controlled noisy chaos, they achieve great heights. Expect awesome things in the coming months from these experienced and passionate local musicians. Their album will be available soon.