An Intense Night of Music!
SANNHET // CLOAKROOM // Self Defense Family Photo Essay
Photos & Text by Charles Nickles
Life is weird and awful and wondrous and if I had a nickel for every time I wished I could just find a way to die without having to rationalize the crass grandiloquence of suicide I’d be comfortable enough to not give a fuck how well my shirts fit but I don’t and that’s just fine because making a mint NOT killing yourself is too goddamn RoboCop for me to comprehend.
So I go to rock shows, instead.
I feel like I must have seen Weeping Icon half a dozen times last year and I could have easily seen them a dozen more so I’m a little surprised that it’s almost June and this is our first night together. Such is life, I suppose. And they’re good, of course. Femme-forward clamor of the highest No York order but a little bit down and dirgier than usual. Maybe that’s they way of the future or maybe there’s a gear issue or it’s the sober mood of the crowd ready to sweat the rafters for Cloakroom that keeps them from kicking into the (literal) metal assault and the chaotic call to arms that made them such a fresh “FUCK YOU!” to the institutionalized bro-dom of volume but, you know, still really fucking good.
I laze, you laze, we all laze for shoegaze or doomgaze or blackgaze or whatever the fuck we’re calling the patient, plaintive wailing of dudes with neck tattoos drunk on circuitry, played at maximum volume. I didn’t much used to care for it, I’ll admit and maybe I still don’t but seeing the many, MANY here for Cloakroom and really finally feeling the towering rhythms bruise my diaphragm I think I might just fucking get it. It’s all violent pity, lovely and deafening, like a delicious Sunday drunk that turns ugly alcoholic when you realize there are still two hours left until the sun goes down and all the friends keeping your stupor aloft couple off in a snap to enjoy the safety of their new South Orange condos, leaving you with a full beer, a bloated tab and a short list of suspected rub and tugs currently (always) open in your area.
Self Defense Family
Goddamn, I love this band. I feel like I may have listened to them every day for the last year and a half but that might be something of an exaggeration (and probably qualifies me as a neophyte) but kindly lies are what make the world go ‘round. I, like more than a few people I chatted with before and after their set, was surprised to find them touring their decidedly post-everything kraut/punk rock polemics with what is, ostensibly, a metal band but if there’s any band that doesn’t give a FUCK about ostensibility, it’s Self Defense Family.
I’d like to say they don’t give a fuck about anything but that would subscribe them to a lazy punk’s teenage rite of nihilism. They give a fuck about themselves. They give a fuck about their significant others. They give a fuck about people who come and see them time and again as they furiously pilot their way through choked orchestrations masquerading as rock and roll missives as the singer rasps harder and harder with ever passage and the bands swells a relentless (though never oppressive) sturm und drang.
They give a fuck about calzone makers and comic books, institutionalized obfuscation German sex workers.
They even give a fuck about Can.
To be honest, I wasn’t all that hyped to see Sannhet. I’ve seen them a handful of times over the last couple of years and thought I definitely dig their black smoke instrumental ideations and the visual aesthetic of their performance is close to legendary in and around this callow city, I felt like seeing them one more time would catapult me into that grotesque cabal of NPR folks who’ve seen Hamilton, like, thirty times because money is a construct best to be burned and hate-fucked and Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius or whatever…I’m not about to wait in line for a month and spend a grand on that cultural phenomenon when I can’t see three dudes in black raze the dust of their passions to atoms with a lightshow for a sawbuck PLUS all the above and I might be losing my train of thought because I haven’t really slept right for about two weeks and all my humane energy goes into being a partner and a patsy but it felt really fucking good to be in the static and shimmer of a band so wholly invested in their total presentation that names and likenesses seem as passé as gender.
So let’s just leave it at “SANNHET FUCKING RULE!” They are an impeccable machine born of blasted beats and hosannaic swells, blown wide for the casual acolyte of a certain, precious hell.