BEING THERE: Bass Drum Of Death @ The Barbary

Photo by DAN LONG

I was stoked to see Bass Drum of Death at the Barbary last night based on their rad videos and generally loud, cool “I don’t give a shit” aesthetic, but I left the show somewhat disappointed, truth be told. To be clear, this was not Bass Drum of Death’s fault, they performed well and sounded great, but the crowd on the other hand totally ruined what could have been a killer vibe.   For starters the online ticket portal said the show was sold out, but in fact the venue was far from packed. Even before BDoD started the attitude of the room was… sleepy.  In fact, the drunk girl leaning next to me actually fell asleep during the performance.  To a deaf person it would’ve looked like a crowd for an Iron & Wine or Fleet Foxes concert. Bass Drum of Death started the show with “Velvet Itch.”  They sounded great, just like the record, but there was a distinct lack of connection between the band and the audience.  As the set continued things warmed up a little bit and there was even a brief hint of moshing.  After the third song, “I Wanna Be Forgotten” they finally addressed the audience with a customary, “how’s everyone doing tonight,” and went on to introduce the song, “Left for Dead,” off their new album “Rip This.”  “Left for Dead” was slower which changed the pace of the set, but in a good way. It broke up what could easily become a monotonous cacophony of high-octane garage rock.  Also off their new album was “Sin Is In 10,” which was my favorite of the night.  Unfortunately the set ended pretty abruptly and they were forced to stop after 9 songs with no encore. After I followed the pack outside I saw the band smoking next to their truck, and after a few minutes it was just me and John Barrett of Bass Drum of Death, so I started talking to him.  He said that he thought it went well, but was noticeably bummed about the set being cut short but pointed out that “I don’t make the rules.” He warmed up to me after I told him “Sin Is In 10” was my favorite from the night, and one of my favorites from the album. He seemed genuinely interested and happy about that, even agreeing that that’s his favorite song too.  All in all a good performance, a rad band, but a lame crowd. — MOLLY KASSEL