Intensity — that's the key word, from the moment Lightning Bolt hit the stage at the Grog Shop last night.
With a wall of raggedy amps stacked three high behind bassist Brian Gibson and drummer/screamer Brian Chippendale, Lightning Bolt cut straight into the eager crowd with chaotic, distorted, insanely fast noise.
The Grog, with its knee-high stage, is the perfect place for Lightning Bolt to play, considering the band often sets up among the audience. From the first song, the crowd lunged forward, shoving until there was nowhere to go but beside the band onstage.
Fans were curiously polite in their frenzy, trying hard not to disturb speakers or the band’s equipment, while the writhing crowd muscled around the venue.
Chippendale attacked the kit, thrashing his lanky frame and screaming indecipherably through the tattered microphone-implanted mask tied to his head. Gibson provided the gritty bedrock of an otherwise ungrounded rush of unabated drum hysteria with utterly distorted though subtlety complex riffs.
Fans slammed into one another, hung from the rafters and threw each other from the stage, losing shoes and shirts in the sweat-soaked crowd.
The rush of end-on-end songs only paused a couple times for Chippendale to slug water. Otherwise the entire set was a blast of energy that, by the end, had exhausted the crowd so much they put up a half-ass chant for an encore. But none was needed, since Lightning Bolt left everything on the stage during their near-hour set for the packed Grog. —Adam Burroughs
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