(Concert Review) SUNNO))) + SUPPORT - Thalia Hall, Chicago (Dec 13/22)
Review by Mark McQueen
The Beard and Little Johnny have come to the end of a long road here in 2022.
#48 Shows Watched
#218 Bands Reviewed
Many IPAs consumed by Johnny.
Tonight, we reside at Thalia Hall in Chicago for our last event in the year long The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2022.
It seems only fitting that we end one of the heaviest workloads of the year with one of the heaviest bands of the year. The Dark Druids of Drone themselves SunnO))).
Thalia Hall is an excellent place to hear the sonic thunder of SunnO))). This venue has great acoustics and lighting, AND it will be the first ever viewing for Little Johnny.
But, before we reach the main course, there were a couple opening acts to observe.
First band up were some local Chicago boys called ...
DEEP TUNNEL PROJECT
Kind of something resembling alt/prog rock.
With the nice acoustics and lights at Thalia, Johnny was happy with these guys as an opener. I didn’t love the vocals (too nasally). Sound also seemed to be working on a steady balance as the room filled more and more. Songs were not bad, but also not memorable.
As the next band was setting up, we noticed the smell of patchouli was permeating the arena. I actually like that scent, so points to whomever was doing that, very earthy and musky. Johnny said it smelled like that because there were so many hippies in here. Ahhh…Johnny, I swear sometimes you could just smack him.
Next up was an act called ...
READY FOR DEATH
They walked onstage to applause from the crowd and immediately said “don’t clap, you haven’t seen us perform yet.” That was funny. This new band apparently had at least one member of instrumental metal band Pelican which is cool to learn. (Thank you Justin).
They hit the stage with a punk/thrash sound and Johnny was out of his seat like he was shot from an arrow. “Mosh it up little dude.” Songs were short, punchy, and aggressive just like Johnny.
I was intrigued, but never super invested. The song about being chased through the dessert by cannibal police officers was pretty original, plus they had really good stage banter. At one point the singer said, “I’m so old I fathered every member of this band.” Again, good stuff.
Finally, it was time for headliners ...
Loudest/slowest band in the world.
The Dark Druids of Drone remain cloaked in both their robes and hoods and the almost impenetrable bank of fog on stage. The volume, as always, is staggering to the point of audio annihilation. If a helicopter landed on stage mid show, you couldn’t hear it and with so much fog, you probably couldn’t see it either.
Johnny looked a bit like that classic 1979’s Maxell "Blown Away" advertisement. Those who remember, know what I’m talking about. If not, look it up, as the visual is spot-on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjf5pdJJ44Q
Hair back shades on, blown away by the immense volume. (Ed: Reminds me of seeing Motorhead on the Iron Fist tour in Toronto. The whole set sounded like an airplane landing on your head. Subtlety be damned!)
Sunno))) are merciless. The volume never lessens. It’s literally like being at the bottom of the slowest landslide in the world. You are crushed, but it takes an hour and a half to happen.
About 15-minutes in, due to the massive fog bank generated by the band, it triggered the fire alarm. That additional noise was barely audible under the wave of low amplification emanating from the stage. This was truly unrelenting sonic assault.
Watching the slow gestures and motions of the two druidic figures as they played (or at least struck and sustained notes for minutes at a time), made me think that being at Stonehenge during a calling forth was probably something like this. (Ed: Makes me want to throw some speedcore on the turntable. Cryptic Slaughter comin' up!)
Johnny was surprisingly engaged, almost shocked into stupor at the massive tsunami of auditory overload. At times I could see him, but mostly he was lost under the rolling-ever present fog thick enough to require its own lighthouse.
The interplay between the players throughout is magical, as in evocative. The slow arm movements, the thundering notes sustained into infinity. This is key of Solomon, book of Enoch type stuff. The Watchers stir. The Nephilim thunder and the Anunnaki rise. Even great R’lyeh slowly ascends from the ocean bottom. Dead Cthulhu lies dreaming, but he’s secretly listening to SunnO))). (Ed: Your literary references escape me. Please reserve in future to Marvel comic book characters only.)
The Beard awards 90/100. This band IS a unique experience.
The Beard and Little Johnny want to thank everyone who read, followed, and supported us on our year long journey across the nation bringing some of the best in Metal acts and reviews. Fortunately, we’ve been retained for 2023 and you will again be able to read us here on the Mighty Decibel site. Videos of shows we review can be found on TIKTOK under #thebeardandlittlejohnny or by searching TheBeard0728.
And remember to check back each Thursday in December for our four-part series “Best Live Sets of 2023.
Follow along with The Beard, and if you see us at a show, share an IPA with Little Johnny.
Until we start this all over again next year, this is The Beard & Little Johnny saying ...