Sunday, September 22, 2013

Medicine LIVE at Williamsburg Music Hall 2013

So, firstly, this show was a BIG DEAL in the apartment. My partner turned me on to this band early on in our dating days. Medicine is noisy and experimental rock group that stands out from others in the shoegaze genre in that they are able to mix huge walls of sound with dreamy, pop-like vocals in a way I haven't heard any other band do as well. Prior to listening to Medicine, I was familiar with bands like My Bloody Valentine, (loosely with) The Jesus And Mary Chain, etc. though my tastes run more towards darker variants of the style such as many Wolves In The Throne Room releases (Black Metal seems to lend itself well to shoegaze as it is already pretty tilted towards guitar experimentation from the 2nd wave, from Scandanavia i.e. "De Mysteriis.." era Mayhem, Thorns, even Darkthrone's early Black Metal releases have a droney, wall-of-sound style, though I'd argue that this had more to do with crust punk sensibilities and limited access to equipment.

Anyway, Medicine does what they do very well, big guitars with many, many layers and ethereal vocals that are just a few notches short of the Cocteau Twins to me. After about 13 years of silence, they returned with a new album that, to me, at least matches their back catalog. As songs were released to fans (a small but loyal base, from what I've seen), I listened and digested. I was most impressed that the availability of newer technology did nothing to ruin the Medicine sound, instead, it was improved: more layers, better noise.

As for the show itself, I will start off saying that I was not impressed with the opener (to the point that I don't even remember their name) which consisted of about 10 hipsters on stage with an incredible redundancy of instrumentation that didn't come through the mix anyway. So, for Medicine! The live sound was excellent, so my hat's off to the sound technician, they are a difficult sound to manage. It was not as good as the album, but certainly better than I expected for live (and I had high hopes). Part of the treat was just to see the guitar/effects rig being used. The set was a solid mix of new and old songs as I recall. In short, if you like Medicine and somehow get a chance to see one of their exceedingly rare live shows, do it! The sound will not disappoint. Additionally, everyone had excellent showmanship and exuded heavy energy the whole show.

I also appreciated that the band members were super-approachable and mingled with the crowd afterwards, talking with friends and fans present for more than an hour after the set, as they were able with stage break-down.

Medicine Facebook:

Pictures of the above show via Brooklyn Vegan:

*Review copyright The Samnambulist, 2013*

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