November 24 2010

Blitzen Trapper - Relentless Garage

Live review by Cato Barend van Schalkwyk

Since I first heard ‘Furr’; off of an Urban Outfitters indie compilation I have been a huge fan of the ‘Trapper’s'; as they refer to themselves on stage.

Rather than conforming to any set styles Blitzen Trapper weave together an interesting array of instruments and sounds that seems as at home in the American wilderness, as grizzly bear with bionic
features. Live they offer up a varied array of guitars, harmonicas, keyboards, synthesizers, and tiny neon skulls with beads in them! Having seen them at the beginning of the summer at Borderline (a tiny venue in London) being supported by the Dutchess & The Duke, I was very excited at the prospect of seeing them again when I attended their ATP gig at Relentless Garage in Highbury & Islington.

Being a strong supporter of small intimate performances, the Blitzen Trapper experience has for me been greatly enhanced by their seeming preference for smaller venues. Whilst in many parts explosive, like
their performance of ‘God & Suicide’ the night grew and grew into something of a brooding metal beast, their music seems well suited to contained and cozy environments as it ebbs and flows from quiet piano
led ballads to throbbing guitars and electronic noise.

Their performance of ‘Black River Killer’; another single off their 2008 Furr release was reassuringly fresh without seeming too radical a departure from how it sounds on the album. Followed by ‘The Man Who
Would Speak True’, off their more recent ‘Destroyer Of The Void’ (2010), criticized by reviews as being a quieter rehash of ‘Black River Killer’ in reviews. In the show however it seemed to compliment the former track rather than just imitate it. The set whilst primarily limited to their two latest releases ‘Destroyer of the Void’ and 'Furr' was filled with some great surprises, I was thrilled to hear ‘Silver Moon’ a track taken off the Black River Killer EP (2009) and by far one of my favorite Trapper tunes.

Joined by their supporting act; 'Pearly Gate Music' in several mind blowing on stage collaborations, the set was excellent and alive with variety in sound, filling the small venue with a cozy psychedelic blanket of folk music. My only criticism being that the purple Blitzen Trapper Ts were only in girls sizes!