Review: Serena Maneesh, Depreciation Guild, Veil Veil Vanish at Bottom of the Hill

Tuesday was one of those rare occasions when I made my way to Bottom of the Hill before sunset. I was there to meet up with Veil Veil Vanish for a portrait or two before their opening set. The opportunity also afforded me the fun of watching Serena Maneesh‘s souncheck. When you reach for your ear protection at the soundcheck, you know it’s going to be a wild evening.

I bided my time between soundcheck and show in my mobile photo editing studio (my laptop in my car) and made my way back to BOTH at 9:15 to catch Veil Veil Vanish. There was a MASSIVE amount of equipment on stage. These locals made the most of the tiny space let open on the stage to delight me with a plethora of tunes off their new CD, Change In The Neon Light. While the stage was crowded, the floor out front was not. Such a piity, because these Gothy shoegazers put on a damn fine show.

Let’s get the obligatory Veil Veil Vanish comparisons out of the way up front. I hate these comparisons, but know they’re useful when introducing a band that may be unfamiliar to readers. Keven Tecon’s vocals definitely remind me of Robert Smith, but much to my delight he’s lacking in Smith’s whimper and taps into a powerful roar a la Mark Burgess of the Chameleons. Given that ‘Serena’ is an adaptation of the Norwegian word for veil, it couldn’t have been more fitting to have these up and coming San Francisco locals for an opener. I swayed and head bobbed throughout their set and can’t wait to see these locals again.

By the time Emile Nikolaisen makes his way to the stage – dressed like a cross between Lou Reed and your eccentric old aunt – the crowd has grown considerably, but it nowhere near sold out. This is a complete surprise to me, and I can only assume it’s because Serena Maneesh haven’t had an album out in four years. But today is special. It’s record release day for their new and hauntingly dense and beautiful CD, Serena Maneesh 2: Abyss in B Minor. I love a crowd like this because we all know that we’re in on a little secret that the rest of the world won’t be clued into for a bit. Consider yourself tipped off. Especially you Seattle-ites because there’s a show tonight, Friday March 26th at The Triple Door.

These Norwegian’s create a tight and blissful swirl of sound conjured from guitars, shakers, laptops and bits of this and that. It’s seriously out there. As Ireland’s the State said last week, “With a loop of backward guitar samples, and drumbeats that wouldn’t be out of place on a kraut rock record, it’s rare you’ll see a tighter group of musicians than this. The songs scurry into one another, such is the mesh of distortion and muffled vocals that whale though the venue like a mad man escaping from an asylum.” This photographer concurs.

My only complaint of the evening is Serena Maneesh’s achingly short set time. It clocked in at 40 minutes, and didn’t include an encore.

(Serena Maneesh + Depreciation Guild play Friday March 26th at The Triple Door in Seattle.)

1 Comment

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