Pitchfork Music Festival 2012, live review | Liturgy
A warm guitar drone announced Liturgy, now just two guitarists after the departure of drummer Greg Fox. (Bassist Tyler Dusenbury is either out of the band or took this gig off). I'm still kicking myself for having missed the band in its original quartet form at the Empty Bottle last year when it was first promoting its Thrill Jockey debut, Aesthethica. Here, Fox's shoes were filled by a drum machine (sigh), and though purists (a loaded topic for Liturgy, whose transcendental metal thesis fostered some animosity among the black metal community) may scoff, it didn't phase Hunt-Hendrix, who whipped up tirades of ecstatic sound that brought the rain crashing back down in a big way. Apparently it's tortured amalgam is impervious to the elements, and often accentuated by it actually. With Fox out of the picture, the duo raced and dragged the tempos back and forth at will, like an old car motor revving and idling. Hunt-Hendrix's default singing voice is something like a howl, though that may not be the most accurate word to describe his particular strain of throat-shredding. Cookie Monster himself would be quaking after hearing the dude do his thing. Sometimes it sounded excruciating, other times like loud sex—there's something feminine about his shriek, and for that matter, his appearance, a fresh face draped by golden, flowing locks. The singer-guitarist hardly seemed put out by it, despite the gravelly angst seemingly involved in making such a noise. A cyclone of distortion-smeared guitars stirred beneath, later morphing into a buzz saw back and forth, with Hunter-Hendrix's Gibson SG contrasting his partner's headstock-less ax, dusting the already drenched audience with a mess of overdriven riffing. Like clockwork the sun came out for the last song as Hunt-Hendrix looped his voice into a chorus like he was attempting to communicate with spirits. Maybe there's something to that transcendental thing after all.