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You know you're in for one hell of a night when, before the show, one of the Crocodile


Last Night: Akimbo/Lesbian/Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death

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You know you're in for one hell of a night when, before the show, one of the Crocodile Cafe cooks -- a musician himself who's no stranger to Marshall amplification -- says that the soundcheck was so unbelievably loud that he thought all the blood from his body was going to explode from every pore of his face.

Musical violence, if not extreme volume, was evident from the start of Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death's set. Frontman (and former Murder City Devil) Spencer Moody -- whose bushy beard and glasses made him look more like a village shoe cobbler than a Seattle rock icon -- and guitarist Corey Brewer traded snaking, vaguely sinister, not-so-melodious licks while Dann Gallucci (of MCD/Modest Mouse fame) solemnly smacked mallets to drums, building up the tension through their ramshackle experimentalism.

As the set (and onstage beer guzzling) progressed, you just had a feeling that the band was either on the verge of falling apart entirely or going batshit crazy, and sure enough both happened -- the distortion finally kicked in, Moody's mic stand ended up in the crowd, the mic itself went halfway down his throat as he forced bloodthirsty screams into it. And by set's end, during the especially damaged blues of "I'm a Man," Brewer found himself perched on Moody's shoulders, broken strings dangling from his guitar while he continued to play, as the singer stumbled around the stage, deranged and howling, until both finally tumbled to the ground, much to the delight of the substantial crowd on hand.

Seattle metal foursome Lesbian, which followed, wasted no time getting to the noise -- the sound was deafening right from the launch, a heavy and exhilarating rush. Merging the colossal and doomy grind of Sabbath with the monster attack of Ride the Lightning-era Metallica, Lesbian does its metal with extreme sincerity, even though at one point my ears briefly caught a passage that sounded a little like Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge." When there were vocals, they were of the demonic death-growl sort, though the band mostly focused on instrumental jams that thrashed, occasionally let up on the throttle to let some truly pretty melodies shine through, and worked in some proggy changes that had to impress any Guitar Center geeks in attendance.

Hitting the stage well after midnight, Akimbo played to a thinned-out crowd yet rose to the challenge laid down by the previous two acts with their hardcore blasts and heavy psych-rock jams. Akimbo's got one of the best, most insane drummers I have ever seen, and the rest of the trio fed off of his manic energy for the duration of their relatively short (half an hour) but immensely satisfying set. At one point, singer-bassist Jon Weisnewski prefaced one of their songs by saying. "This is gonna be awesome." Actually, it was fucking awesome, and fucking loud -- the way any great rock show should be, and this was easily one of the best of the year thus far.

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