The air was crisp, the skies were clear and Capitol Hill was uncharacteristically quiet, even for a Tuesday night. I found a parking spot near the venue, double checked the parking sign and made my way to check out True Widow.
The quiet state of the Hill has me a little worried about the turn out for the show, but those fears were laid to rest as a constant flow of people entered the venue. Since I was there early, I sat at a table near the door, sipped on my beer and tried to find a pattern among the crowd. The only real consistency was that almost everyone went to the bar first and then made their way to the stage, drink in hand.
Whenever a two-piece band comes on stage and there’s only a drummer and a bassist I get a little worried. Most of the time it’s so sludgy that the vocals can’t be heard or it’s just meandering with little direction. Me Infecto didn’t suffer from either of those, in fact there was a refreshing raw and vulnerable quality to bassist and singer Dan Infecto’s performance. He was lost in the music, yet present for the audience, switching from screaming to smiling in an instant.
The stage filled with fog and haunting music droned from the stage, drawing the crowd in. Lowland is the perfect band for the this time of year, they are dark, brooding and make for one hell of a Halloween soundtrack. When singer Gabriel Spatuzzi approached the microphone and sang his first word, my first thought was ‘Holy shit he sounds like Peter Murphy!’ and the Bauhaus influence was evident throughout their set. The subdued rhythms, powerful voice and glowing fog all made for an engaging and captivating set. Their first album, Lovers Blessing, just came out and you can listen to it on Bandcamp.
True Widow self-classify their music as stonegaze, or their stoner rock take on showgaze, which is a perfect sub-genre for this band. Their music is contemplative and ethereal, demanding that the listener take a moment and let the songs lead the user down a audio river. Bassist Nicole Estill provided the driving fuzz, that stoner rock is known for, providing the audience with a comforting audio blanket. Her voice balanced out the chest rattling bass, adding a somber and beautiful complement to the sheer melancholy drawl of guitarist DH Phillips. Slim TX kept things in time at the back, hunched over his drum kit, banging out the slow and hypnotic beats.
The set was filled with introspective and bewitching songs, allowing the crowd to sway and be lost in the sound. This style of music isn’t about the band going crazy on stage, rather it about the tone and how well the music is played. True Widow sounded amazing live, the dreamlike quality of their music really sticks to your brain as the reverb buzzes to your core.
Also worth noting is that True Widow’s new album out on Relapse records Avvolgere is a genre defying master class in letting songs breath. It takes the sludge of stoner rock and refines it into something that exists between classifications. Case in point is their new video for ‘F.W.T.S: L.T.M.’ which you can see below the photos.