The late 90s were quite a time to be in the North Carolina Triangle if you were a music nerd. One of the Triangle's bigger-name bands, Archers of Loaf,went on its hiatus around the time of my arrival for graduate school in '98, so they were one I never got to see live. Which I think is why I wasn't so much into them then. On record, I didn't catch the melody and the hooks enough to dig further than Icky Mettle, and on that, I definitely preferred the more accessible tracks like "Web in Front" and "Plumbline.
Friday night at the Black Cat changed my mind on that. Oh, what a dumb little girl I have been.
Archers live is full of powerful bravado and a drum-and-bass combo that is a visceral call to arms. After they started, bass player Matt Gentling asked us in the first row, "Hey, if you see my amps start to topple over, can you let me know?" Amps tend to do that when you have someone pogoing in front of them for 90 straight minutes (thankfully, they stayed in place). The melodies and hooks that alluded me on record jackhammered my eardrums over the set's 21 songs and it was glorious. Archers of Loaf on record is one thing, but Archers of Loaf live was how rock music should be played.
Other photos from the set can be seen here.
Check out my piece in the Washington City Paper about the show here.