A Place to Bury Strangers / This Will Destroy You June 12 at the Biltmore Cabaret – Review

I told you so. Didn’t I tell you so? “You don’t want to miss this, Vancouver.” If you went to the Biltmore Cabaret on Tuesday night, you did not walk out disappointed.

It’s too bad it was an early weekday, which I assume kept some people away. What a show. This Will Destroy You walked on stage at 10:30 p.m. and gently eased us into their post-rock world with their beautiful, progressive soundscape of ringing notes, lulling repetitions and enveloping drones. “Everything’s okay in here,” the music said, “It’s going to get heavy, but we’re in this together.”

Once we all willingly submitted, a deep voice rose over the drone – “When I talk to you again, you will be three years old. You will be three years old. Now you are three years old. Do you go to school?” Wow. I wasn’t ready for that. So I’m three now? Should I be drinking? I don’t go to school anymore, no. What’s happening right now? Gah. Help me out here. It’s so loud, this groove is amazing. They build and build and build and then… booooooooommmm. Crushing explosions. Interstellar. Cosmic. This music is so soothing and uplifting while being fully aware of the infinity and incomprehensibility of our earth, galaxy and universe.

I had not heard a single note from TWDY before Tuesday night. I had no idea what to expect. Neither did my buddy Todd – “It’s like… driving at night, very fast… without being aggressive, but super fast. One car on an empty road.” Yeah, man. Exactly. Guitarists Jeremy Galindo and Chris King, bassist and keyboardist Donovan Jones, and drummer Alex Bhore played a solid, inspiring set that won’t soon be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to witness it.

TWDY’s set eventually ended, as all things must, but we weren’t yanked out of the happy place we’d been ushered into. A continuous ambient transition helped us all come back down to earth and slowly awake from what had just transpired. Wipe the sweat off.

And then… it happened.

A Place To Bury Strangers strolled out like they owned the fuckin’ place. Turns out they did. “So Far Away”  screamed a supernova scream like a steam engine roaring right through you (like in Ghostbusters) at the speed of light.

I had a chance to speak with Dion Lunadon (bass) before APTBS went on stage. You gotta love it when the band sells their own merch; I picked up the blue shirt with the naked dude on it and Onwards to the Wall, their latest EP, which I very highly recommend. “It’s been fucking wicked,” he said, when asked about how the tour had been going. I found out that this was their last night. They were off to Seattle right after. I asked if they planned on playing “Ego Death”, one of my favourites (from 2009’s Exploding Head). He said yes, they were going to play it. “Don’t tell me when, though!” I said. He replied “I couldn’t, even if I wanted to. We only figure out the set list about 30 minutes before show time. Who knows when it’ll happen.” Love it.

“Ego Death” happened third. Todd had nailed it earlier on; the night-driving trip continued with APTBS, except now, there was a body in the trunk and we only had one headlight. Smoke and sweeping beams of light added to the chaos. The car crashed. Dion, Oliver (Ackermann, guitar/vocals) and Jay (Space, drums) crawled out of the wreckage and pulled me and everyone else along with them, hands clasped, through fearsomely lit alleys full of flickering colour, danger, sex, pain, death, life and love.

These guys play feedback like an instrument. What comes out of their capable hands and minds are unearthly sounds that hearken to the birth of creation. I looked at my watch at 1:08 a.m. That’s when the planets swelled beyond capacity and tore themselves apart. I walked to the back of the Biltmore, thanked my lovely bartender Kim, and kindly asked to have my ego back, which had blasted right out of the back of my head during the show and splattered on the beer fridge. Sorry about that.

Worship, A Place To Bury Strangers’ third full-length comes out June 26. In the meantime, pick everything up and dive in, it’s all gold. Also, you must check out This Will Destroy You’s Tunnel Blanket (2011). Wild.