Live at Chicago's White Star Bar
August 8, 2009
Heavy and melodic, damning and redeeming, abrasive and beautiful...such dichotomies does Giant Squid mold from a dense brick of clay. Sculpting chiaroscuro from a monolith of sound upon solid guitar foundation provided by Bryan Beeson and Cory Tozer, Aaron Gregory adds to the guitar mix and punishes the microphone--mostly with a growling yell, but at times more melodic--backed by the occasional, awesome screams of Jackie Perez Gratz--I mean wonderful, although my inclination draws more to the haunting impression wafting from her wicked white electric cello. Behind it all I see Chris Lyman having a grand old time pounding on his drum kit.
The band is not superheavy but still quite forceful,good rock. I heard shades of Pelican, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Black Sabbath, and in one relatively calm interlude, Tom Waits. The next-to-last song of the set featured a climax of marching crescendo on the drums that was quite fun, standing out from the general feeling of hiking through a dark morass. They are one of the most intent bands I've seen, concentrating, eyes closed, practically meditating. Intangible emotion is still projected but rarely shown on their studious faces. It was Giant Squid's first show in Chicago, in a little unassuming Czech bar with checkerboard floor on the northwest side, and the turnout was deservedly good.
Review and photos by Evan Tyler
Listen to our interviews with Aaron Gregory of Giant Squid