Monday, April 23, 2012

Show Review: BRC @ Geno's in Portland, Maine

Show Review by Christian Dyer

Since I can't remember the third word of their moniker, apparently, I really have to do a good job on this write-up about Meghan and Adam's act, "Bedroom Rehab Corporation". It doesn't matter if you even go as far as slipping and calling them "Master Bedroom" or whatever, as long as you don't compare them to the White Stripes for more than a passing acknowledgement of the constituent pieces of the band -- all of these happen, and happened as Seether fans drifted in from their show with brand new t-shirts into the more local, metal-ish venue.....

Adam plays a stringed instrument (
that Thunderbird, that was my last electric bass) and Meg is on the drumkit. Draw your comparisons and leave them there, because this is a totally different thing. In general, going to a metal venue worries me. Going to a show that locals refer to as "metal" worries me even more. I just don't get into it despite appreciation of the technical mastery of face-shredding riffs and all. This was my first time being sober enough to remember seeing BRC, and it was worth all the face-shredding that life could possibly throw at me. They played at Geno's in Portland on 4/20, after an act of workaday family men who opened with pretty solid workaday modern metal songs and were followed by a more polished version of what sounded pretty similar (from the lobby on the way out). Adam and Meg make a delicious sandwich filling in this setup.

Meghan's kit has always surprised me in its sparseness, it has always seemed pretty Spartan to me whenever I've seen her play, and in this act I think the only includes a cymbal or two more than when I've seen her with PBR. Despite the rarity of things for her to beat on, her kit is intimidating, it sits on the stage, low-slung, like a bandolier draped over the hips of the venue.

Adam sets up his gear to the side, with some sort of fancy mic for him to sing into, and what seemed to be an ambient sound mic in the middle of it all. The economy of doo-dads and dongles and so forth is really exciting, after waiting for more populous acts to break down and set up (or worse, fumble with their effects to the detriment of their songs) and I think it would only be fair for promoters to reward the duo with extra stage time for their efficiency. I don't think the crowd would disagree. Efficiency. That might be a great way to get into the act's music. It is a very efficient vehicle for rocking the fuck out. It's pretty bare-bones, just like their equipment.

Adam does some crazy shit with that bass, I couldn't keep track of half of it, but it is a thunderous accompaniment to the drums, tearing back and forth between rhythm and melody. His vocals are the perfect accompaniment to his rad bass playing, totally keeping the overall sound from drowning in the lower registers, he belts out the lyrics with a great stage presence and plenty of variety. He's got good moves, too. The effects on his vocals remind me a lot of the Rev. Deadeye, very scrappy and a little tinny, but with the absence of a dedicated melody/treble member it is just the right amount of bite to keep the act from sounding sludgy. It would be hard, though, for the sound to be overly sludgy, having acknowledged the array of sounds Adam coaxes from his bass. 

Also, I don't think Meghan's drumming would allow it. She is just fucking brutal. That is the best description I heard for it. I thought, during their tune up, that Adam was set way too loud -- WAY too loud. No way. Meghan's drumming is serious! It's incredibly loud, crisp, as far as I can tell it's technically perfect, and it is viscerally exciting to witness. The sounds produced between the pair of them is just exactly what each moment seems to call for, it's an obvious synergy of talent and mutual understanding, and the result is a battered, decaying wall of sound, that Adam and Meghan are standing confidently on, throwing loose bricks at your head.

The stage dynamic between the two is a trip. They set up pretty traditionally, Adam assuming the role of frontman, standing forward and to the side of the drums a bit, the space for the nominal third member visibly empty, like the void in a smile from a knocked-out tooth. Meg's kit is set up where drumkits go. There is very little interaction between the two on-stage, and Meghan's sweetness comes out in laughter in the space between songs as the two affirm what's coming up. Adam seems conscious of the crowd's interaction with band, aware of his "frontmanness" and is quick to recede to his amplifiers or a nearby wall to abdicate that position and allow the audience to commune with the act as a whole. I might interject here that maybe considering rearranging the stage setup could make the stage act more interesting, making it feng shui could be rad, but I understand the idiosyncrasies of making art, and both of them are professional musicians and are likely used to playing where they are playing. Whatever, as long as they keep kicking out the jams like they did last night!

It was refreshingly easy to become engaged in their particular brand of music, it seemed like it was pretty novel to the more experienced folks in the audience. For a slower night when a national act is playing a couple doors down, plenty of patrons got their asses off their barstools for an out-of-town act playing their first set in Portland, and I really hope Bedroom Rehab Corporation felt the love, because they sure as shit brought the rock.