Striking with the incredible heat of their still recent and fresh full-length debut, Oklahoma's Chat Pile came to (le) Poisson Rouge and absolutely destroyed it.
After releasing a few EPs over the years, Chat Pile finally dropped their debut album, last year's excellent God's Country, and have been touring in support of it ever since. Their latest tour brought them to Manhattan's (le) Poisson Rouge for a night of ruthless aggression, bouts of crushing fury, and pure mayhem. Taking the stage to the theme song from Seinfeld was an early indication to what we were about to witness and as the band took their spots and the iconic bass line faded, the lights darkened and the crowd instantly began to swarm as the unforgiving bass and drum tones rang out over the room. The intensity was instant and within seconds the floor turned into a massive pit that saw bodies flying throughout the night, ricochetting off one another while walls of metallic sound crashed down around us. Their brutalist approach to hard rock and noise combined with droning sludge metal makes their sound one of true brilliance and their prscence on stage only enhances their wicked display of power. Crushing through "Wicked Puppet Dance" to open the night, lead singer Raygun Busch took the time between songs to talk about the best horror films that were shot solely in Manhattan which got quite the response from the crowd before the band would swan dive into the next turbulent track of impending doom. Plowing away through the onslaught of noise, bassist Stin worked the stage with a demonic stare as he swayed with a disturbed rhythm, keeping the groove just chaotic enough while drummer Cap'n Ron blasted away at his kit like a sculptor attacking a block of stone, with punishing blows raining down, he chiseled away at the beat with insidious blasts of soul crushing force. "Pamela" and "Rainbow Meat" also brought the heat and had the crowd reacting like flies to a carcass, yet the night remained in control and the command of the band over the audience was firm, never getting too out of hand, but still allowing for pure chaos to erupt with each and every song. "This is a new song" Busch announced before the band took a turn for a more melodic number, but while it seemed to groove more than any other Chat Pile song might, it was with the attitude of a Faith No More song, still tough as nails, but perhaps with slightly less of an edge than some of their harder songs. "grimace_smoking_weed.jpeg" was another crowd pleaser that sent people over the edge and gave everyone their desired opportunity to scream out "PURPLE MAN" with brute force while the deadpan vocals cracked and shrieked, adding warped humor to the band's pulverizing sound. When the band finally got to the massive "Why," it felt like an awakening. Even after plenty of high-caliber tunes, an anthem of intense anger around the housing crisis hit like the heat of a thousand suns and slammed the crowd like a tidal wave, the distraught pouring out and the lack of understanding as to how we can treat other human beings with such negligence became overpowering. Why do we treat people this way? WHY? For a band that can appear to not take themselves too seriously, they can still use their music to talk about serious business and do so without compromising their sound. In fact their political tendencies only make them stronger and this was a display of the utmost power. "Let's be real" Ray remarked towards the end of the night. "We could 'play two songs' and then pretend to leave and come back, or we can just play three songs like we all know we're gonna do." Before he even bothered to ask the crowd which they'ed prefer, it was clear that no one was interested in the madness taking a break so the band dug in and delivered their final tracks of the night leaving nothing behind, their relentless waves of ear-splitting guitar shreds and rhythms as steadfast as brick walls somehow sounding more towering than ever. After the crowd headed towards the exit, the band hit the stage once more and after yelling out "PSYCH!" they ripped into their actual last song of the night and cemented their performance with awe-inspiring brilliance. On stage they proved their status as the most prominent new band in the noise-rock scene and demonstrated their talents beyond their recordings, making for a cohesive experience that puts them on a level all their own and one that will surely rise quickly in the months and years to come.