My favorite bills are ones with bands that don't exactly make sense together. Seeing four metal bands or four ska bands can get repetitive, so my personal preference is seeing four completely different bands in one night. That's what happened Saturday night at Hawks & Reed with the quadruple bill of Bellower, Elizabory, Tysk Tysk Task, and Amulette.
Amulette opened, and were definitely not what I expected with what I knew about the other bands playing. They're a Western Massachusetts based band that plays an uptempo sound that was a mixture of modern prog rock meets jam band. That might not sound like it would work, or would be terrible, but it was surprisingly good. They also play a nearly instrumental selection of songs with the bare minimum of lyrics required to not be fully instrumental. Plus, for the last song they added in a large chunk of 8-bit video game music. I'm most likely explaining this badly, but they were the type of band that surprised me more and more as their set went on.
Tysk Tysk Task played next, and as many times as I've seen them over the past two years, they keep me coming back as their sound continues to morph. Even songs like the double punch of "Working On It" and "Working It Out" has taken on a new form going on two years. While most bands at this stage in their career would lock down a song's sound after it's recorded, Tysk Tysk Task let the songs keep evolving. The band also played some new songs they've been working on, including the live debut of "Picture Perfect." Their new songs seem to be putting Samantha Hartsel's vocals as more of a focus, which is certainly not a bad choice with her ability to inject songs with an intense emotion. The new song had a very Yeah Yeah Yeahs vibe to it. Another new song, "Soulfucked," is going to quickly become a favorite around here once it's officially released.
Following the prog rock/jam band sound of Amulette and the indie grunge meets shoegaze of Tysk Tysk Task came Elizabory. Elizabory is an experimental metal band that was completely out of my comfort zone. They played more of a dark metal sound than I typically listen to, but this night proved that getting out of your comfort zone can be a good thing. They were incredibly engaging as performers, and, unlike most darker, screamy metal, were actually kind of fun and didn't seem to take themselves overly serious. Plus, it's fun watching someone just shred on a guitar every so often.
Bellower closed out the show and kept the metal sound going. They're another Western Mass band that plays a more traditional metal style. They sounded like a thrashy hurricane of noise, and the singer has one of the best (I can't believe I'm going to say this since the band is called Bellower) bellows I've heard live. Once again, this is a band I probably wouldn't have seen normally, but it's good to stretch out and hear new things every so often. Plus, being from Worcester County I do have some metal roots. And I do have a fondness for thrash and guitar solos, and Bellower provided both.