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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dredging Slime - Multicult at Gooski's & Variable Impulse review

A long time ago, just right here in Pittsburgh, I was asked to play a show at Gooski's with the Baltimore noise rock band, Multicult. By a long time ago, we're talking August 18th, 2014, so it's been almost 3 years. I still want to review these old shows, and this one was pretty cool, so here we are.

Nick from Multicult set up the show, and I helped with a few things. Originally we were set for Roboto, and Cyrus Gold was also going to play. Then the show moved to Gooski's, and Cyrus Gold dropped. I was luckily able to get my friend Mihalko to play. He uses a bunch of different names for his sets; this one was Flesh Heels.

I brought a small setup, because I rode my bike to Gooski's. Some friends saw me on the way there, and we might have loaded everything into their car; I don't remember. When we got to Gooski's, the sound was kinda goofy, and I had never run sound there before. Luckily, there were people there who knew what they were doing (thanks John Roman!).  For my set, I used a small sequencer and made some eerie alien sounds with its tones. I think I did well, and it was a fun set to play. With the blue lights above, a lights ensconced a dark mire, on this world or another. I will probably be doing something like this at the next Satyr/Elfheim show, the first in a long while, this September.


Next up was Flesh Heels. Unlike most of his sets, Mihalko did not bring one of his weird homemade guitars for this one. He did some cool noisy guitar stuff, going on a little longer than he maybe should have. I liked the creepy lizard mask.


Finally, Multicult played, an actual band on this short show. They were really good. I loved the bass tone; it has to be one of the best ever! The guitarist and drummer were good too, but the bass was really the standout instrument for me, a thick but not too low growl. Multicult is fast and tight and off-kilter in a way. It was hard to hear the vocals, due to the sound issues, but they are hard to understand for me even on the album from that tour.


Before I go, let's talk about Variable Impulse, Multicult's 2014 album. They also did an album last year, Position Remote, but I'm reviewing this ancient show here. Variable Impulse sounds a lot like the live show, and that is good. The album starts with "Othello", a song that has some cool bass sounds underneath the thrashy guitar; those bass growls really make this song. "Particle Shower", the following song is more interesting; there are some cool riffs here and more weird bass tones. It's also a little faster. The album steps back a bit for "Foreign Object", an atmospheric journey. More cool riffs and angular guitars happen. There's a bit of a Nirvana "loud quiet loud" thing going on here. Multicult isn't so far from grunge, but they aren't as detuned as a tarpit mummy. This album has Albini-esque production, so it needs to be turned up a bit to really make it pop; then it's great! "Melee" is a great bass-driven rocker, one of my favorites on the album, and it's followed by the post-punk by means of the Wipers, "Expressionless". I really like this song too. "Ungrounded" and "Jaws" continue the trudge forward, almost becoming too samey, but the great guitar fills on "Jaws" keep it all fresh. I really liked these guitar fills; they remind me of something I might do. Later, the heavy drum fills split the seas like an old sage calling to a sky god; that is also good. There is some very grindy bass on the next track "Nimbus", like it sounds like things being ground up, which is gross but cool. The album closes out with the harder, "PCP" and the title track "Variable Impulse". I wish the vocals were more prominent, but it's a great album. Multicult dredged up some toxic Baltimore sludge for this one. Variable Impulse gets a Good.

I really like Multicult and Variable Impulse. I missed them when they came again after this show. Thankfully they will be back this year on September 29th with a stacked lineup, including Philly's Soul Glo, at Roboto. I will be there, and it will be here soon after. I don't want to wait 3 years again.

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