In The Flesh

Wolf Eyes
Local 506, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Thursday, Sept. 29

Wolf Eyes is the sound of an approaching onslaught. It rattles like a trailer court buffeted by a category 4 storm. That hiccupping scratch the air conditioner makes when it’s on the blink? Amplify it 50 times and that’s WE’s rhythm track. For musical texture, add an electrified nail grater. And just when you’ve accustomed yourself to the steady, if not merciless, thrum of these Motor City industrialists, the cacophonous trio assault their “instruments” like sugar-buzzed fourth graders set loose in shop class.

By instruments we mean amplified slabs of metal, beaten like the left side of Rocky Balboa’s face in the first movie. Run through sound-manipulation devices, the music’s an amorphous mutating creature — oddly orchestral and poetic — abetted by bass, gongs and the unidentifiable one-stringed instrument that John Olson plays like Mike Watt having a panic attack. These Chrome-plated apostles of Throbbing Gristle and Test Dept. have disciples in Chapel Hill as well. While smaller than the audience for last week’s Four Tet show, Wolf Eyes inspired more movement from the notoriously stoic North Carolina crowd, led by a mini eight-person mosh-pit. The balance of the audience (50, maybe) stood transfixed, immobilized as if by a car accident or Michael Brown. This, not Alice Cooper, is the music with which to scatter Branch Davidians.

Chris Parker writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]