Smile Politely

A feedback soaked night at the I4C

A sweaty Thursday evening at the Institute for Creativity set the perfect stage for a night of gloomy, doomy, heaviness. The I4C has quickly become Downtown Champaign’s newest haven for all the freaks and weirdos (including myself) to come hear the newest sounds coming out from the underground, and tonight’s small but yet dedicated crowd were in for something truly special.

Chambana locals, Orator, set the tone for the evening with a short set of absolutely crushing tunes. Slow, pummeling riffs were accompanied by big, soaring guitar melodies and intense, screamed vocals. Their abilty to seamlessly meld styles and genres make for a truly unique sound. I have never heard anything quite like it. My favorite thing about this band was that each instrument played a key role in crafting their sound, and each individual part could be heard perfectly. Be sure to catch these dudes next time you get the chance. You won’t be disappointed.

Next up was Snow Burial, a three-piece from Chicago. Their set showcased a pretty eclectic mix of doom, sludge, metalcore, and even some mathy (dare I say, emo) post punk that came together to create a a genre they call “Hipster Doom.” (So sick!) Chicago has always been known for its fantastic music scene, and these guys are another gem worth hearing. 

 Mariner, out of St. Louis, left the doom behind for a more straight up post-punk vibe. Guitarist/vocalist Jacob Lashley looked as if he was lost in emotion as he screamed each lyric (sometimes even without the aid of a microphone), and each song was a mix of hard edged screamo that would give way to softer, more introspective math rock. These dudes did a great job of putting their own flavor on the the much abused genre of post-punk, and I hope they come visit us again soon. Also bonus props are in order for guitarist Aaron Kuhn’s super slick Legend of Zelda t-shirt.

Second to last was another local act, Earthholder. After hearing their debut EP, “don’t worry, we feel it too” a few weeks ago, I knew we were all in for something truly epic. Check out our review of it. The instrumental three-piece sounded larger than life inside the small upstairs of the I4C with their huge, rich textures and melodic playing. A mix of post rock and doom (and again, dare I say, emo) left the crowd with nodding heads and swaying bodies. I have a feeling we are all about to witness the rise of another C-U powerhouse band.

Closing out the night was Aseethe from Iowa City, Iowa. Not only were they the heaviest band playing tonight, they were one of the heaviest bands I’ve ever seen. They made pure, unrelenting sludge metal that mixed in the dark ambience of drone and doom to create a T-Rex sort of sound. Though the crowd had begun to thin out by this point, the three piece blitzed through their set with a vengeance. A satisfying end to a great night of music. If these dudes come back this way, you had best be there.

Special thanks to the Institute for Creativty for playing host to such a rad evening. If you haven’t caught a show there yet, go check it out.

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