Indie/hipster/whatever you want to call it counterculture has gone to prove that irony is far from dead. Throngs of music fans have supported countless fashions, artists, and ideals all in the name of smugness and/or elitist comedy. Just look at how many bands nowadays have the word “fuck” in their name. Without irony, we wouldn’t have tight jeans, racist anti-racism, or bands like Wolf Eyes.
Now let me just say I have never been a fan of this group. I don’t really know how anyone could enjoy listening to their patented brand of macabre, garbled noise rock unless it’s while watching a snuff film. Although it does have its place in establishing atmosphere, thus making it a worthy candidate for usage in plays, movies, etc., listening to it for sheer pleasure seems a bit far fetched. But hey, who am I to judge?
So while watching this four and a half minute performance in Flint, Michigan, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by the music itself. But I’ve heard over and over again how amazing their live show is, that you have to see it to believe it. And although watching a clip of a live performance is nothing compared to seeing the performance in person, I was hoping to discover some nugget of enlightenment as to why people are constantly drawn to their shows.
Alas, my hopes were smashed. As I said, maybe I just had to be there, but at the risk of sounding like a crotchety old fart, I honestly don’t see the appeal of swaying back and forth, whiplashing your head to music that sounds like a malfunctioning robot unsuccessfully trying to force its rusted dick into the even rustier chainlinks of an antique swingset. I must be alone though, as the lads in this video seem to be having a grand old time doing just that.
I have to give the camera operator credit for their guerilla handheld filming technique that seems to capture the chaotic essence of a Wolf Eyes show while still remaining somewhat coherent and focused on the music being performed onstage. Its crafty, but not too artsy, and all in all, I cant deny that it epitomizes the bands sound. So kudos for that.
But for an outfit renowned for their live shows, I really dont get it. There isnt anything shocking enough to be considered taboo, not enough stage presence to offer any sense of community, and the music teeters on being unlistenable. Theres a fine line between avant garde and retarded. Maybe the bands fans are onto something Im not, or maybe its all supposed to be funny. But if ironys the case, then the band (as well as the fans) should give us a wink every now and then to let us in on the joke.