Real Live Action

Black Dice

with Wolf Eyes & Sade Sade, May 25 @ The Biltmore

Review By Quinn Omori

For noise fans, this bill at the Biltmore was a no brainer, offering up a little something for every fan of harsh sounds.

Sometimes-Vancouverite Gabriel Saloman started the night off. The ex-Yellow Swans member performed solo as Sade Sade, manipulating the hum from a blank cassette played on an old Walkman with a variety of effects, panning the resulting sounds across the Biltmore’s sound system. The result was like some sort of audio Rorschach test. And no matter how you interpreted it, it was compelling stuff.

Wolf Eyes were up next, unleashing their brand of crashing, uncompromising “music.” Using effects, conventional sonic weapons like guitars and horns, and some makeshift instruments, the Michigan three-piece showed why they’re one of the genre’s most revered performers.

Black Dice finished the evening with a set that treated the ears and the eyes, playing in front of stuttering visuals that should have come with a warning to epileptics. Although they’d still sound rather “out there” to most music fans, considering that the band comes from the same untamed, improvisational reaches that Wolf Eyes still inhabits, Black Dice’s music has become far more structured as they’ve grown older. Rather than free-form noise collages, their songs were grounded by synthesized beats and buzzing synth patterns. It would be a stretch to call them “danceable,” but the industrial rhythms that drove their set coerced more than a few bodies into motion before the night was through.