Often times it is difficult to truly understand how strange some music is until you see it live. Noise music on recording is peculiar; somehow people enjoy listening to the sound of a hissing television thrown out of a window over five hundred times. The difference is that these enjoyments are private and sacred. Brought to the public light they can seem disgusting, perverse, even violent. This is the atmosphere that Blanck Mass is determined to cultivate at his live shows, from the music to the visuals, every single second reinforces that what is happening is something to be hidden, which only further pushes it into the light.
The opener, Egyptrixx came on at around 9:30 p.m. after the doors had opened at 8:00 p.m. Luckily for show goers the hour and a half could easily be passed at The Resident’s lovely patio area which had multiple bars, along with fireplaces and ample seating for both those attending as patrons of the bar as well as those who were there for the show. The show took place within a minuscule room, much smaller than even most bars in Los Angeles, it made the most diminutive of venues look large, even the Echo was massive by comparison. The music itself was rather similar to an artist like Clark — he played for around twenty five minutes before leaving the stage. The crowd formed an odd semi circle about ten feet back from the stage for no apparent reason aside from the sheer intensity of the volume emanating from the onstage speakers, a volume that would be pushed toward the breaking point for the next set.
By the time Blanck Mass took the stage the crowd had surged to about double the size. Luckily for attendees, the bar was large enough to handle the small crowd, making for a wonderful atmosphere and solid sound quality. He opened with “The Rat” off his latest album World Eater, a record that is solidly contending for the best of the year, to much applause. The volume had increased by almost fifty percent since the opening act, leading to an incredible show atmosphere. Behind the stage there was a large projection screen that had been left unused by Egyptrixx but was now being used to conjure up some of the most upsetting visuals ever to be played at a live show. There was nothing but closeups of wet flesh and spiders. The whole affair was upsetting on a visceral level as the images pulsed away in time with the ferocity of the music.
Blanck Mass managed to set himself apart as a live performer by incorporating his filtered screams into the performance on songs like “The Rat” and “Rhesus Negative” lending an air of brutality to the songs, while adding a genuine element of showmanship. The set cooled in intensity as songs like “Silent Treatment,” “The Great Confuso Pt.2” and “Please” entered into the room, but as the musical aggression diminished the visuals only grew more and more twisted, giving no quarter to those who were more sensitive in the audience. By the time Blanck Mass exited the stage the audience was beaten but clamoring for more, there was no encore, though that would not stop more than half the audience from sticking around to listen to a hurricane of feedback in the hopes that he would reappear for one last round.
It’s not often that one can engage with the underground. There’s always some music, some acts, that are kept private and hidden from the scrying eyes of the public. Blanck Mass always comes across, on record at least, as someone who should be enjoying more success as one of the most talented voices in noise and experimental of all time. Seeing him live, it’s more apparent why the public still shies away. His violent, abrasive tones take on a menacing air in person, and his visuals could clear a room full of those who are even slightly squeamish. Though those who have embraced him from the beginning will find a delightful respite to listen to and engage in a wholly unique experience.
1. The Rat
2. Rhesus Negative
3. Dead Format
4. Silent Treatment
6. The Great Confuso Pt.2