here lies man, night vapor, & Solarburn at birllobox, pittsburgh - 8.26.18
you will know nothing…
Sometimes there really is nothing better to do with a Sunday night then go see some underground psychedelic jam/fuzz/fusion rock at a bar, really. Not that it was something to do at the last second or anything, I’ve been looking forward to seeing Here Lies Man since I first heard their debut record last years, and ever since this show hosted by Winterforge Productions was announced, this has been one I’ve been greatly anticipating. Armed with a new sophomore record under their belt via long time favorite Riding Easy Records, Here Lies Man take it on tour with a vengeance; providing one of the most vibrant, sharp, and purely off the hook, rocking shows I’ve seen in a while.
Let me start by saying, I don’t know why more bands don’t play shows at Brillobox. A tucked away gem lurking deep in Pittsburgh, it provides an atmosphere unmatched by just about any other “bar” venue in the city, and it couldn’t have been a more suitable location for Here Lies Man. The retro-psychedelic-neon vibe of the backdrop and lighting quite literally set the stage for the music coming our way. Everything from the back bar to the sound of the snare drum was on point, and the crowd felt it. Pittsburgh showed up ready to party, as per usual.
Unfortunately having missed the first band, Solarburn, I don’t have much to say other than, they sounded great. And from what research I’ve done into them before the show, they would’ve been a perfect fit for an opening band for this show. And I heard they were. So, jumping right in before Night Vapor takes the stage, the crowd is fully anticipating what I can only describe as psych-sludge nerd metal, emphasis on the metal, and the nerd, and the everything. As I weasel my way to the front while they’re tuning up, I get the vibe that these dudes aren’t messing around. And they were not. The vocalist, complete with khaki shorts, a golf shirt, rectangular frames, and a dad haircut all but looked like he was heading to Applebee’s, but instead wrecked our faces with growling doom. The band kicks in with beyond full force, like an electric tiger shark hurling itself into jam invested waters, and kept that vibe throughout the entire set. And that is no easy vibe to capture, mind you. But they held on to it like a mechanical bull. Twisting, turning, looping, and scaling through these tight and raw heavy metal jams without missing a single beat. The guitarist was razor sharp, riffing and rolling through groves and metal induced chord progressions. And the rhythm section stayed nice and tight, emphasizing the ridiculousness and rolling along as the vocalist contorted and wrecks himself through their collection of songs. Growling, screaming, and stomping with dance moves only a T-Rex would be jealous off and looking fresh off a D&D tournament, these dues rocked hard. Eyes closed and you would’ve thought Night Vapor was a bunch of long haired dudes in leather, smoking, bruiting and headbanging; the fact that they were the exact opposite makes them all the more compelling. I have mixed feelings on opening acts in general as I feel like they can either compliment the headline band or take away from the experience. Speaking from personal experience, if the opening band is simply a not as popular (or even not as good) band as the headliner, they can crush the vibe and energy of the show by just gassing you out with the same type of music all night. Unless, of course, you go intentionally to see the opening act then that’s another story for another day, entirely. Conversely, if they are related yet different enough to provide an interesting contrast and “warm you up” adequately for the headliner, that is a well constructed bill and a truly appropriate opening act. Such was the case at the Brillobox. Night Vapor without a doubt added tremendous value to the experience and perfectly set the stage for Man to Lie.
Definitely not being ones to waste time, Here Lies Man took the stage in a funky fury (another sweet band name… Funky Fury…hah) and set the crowd off like dynamite. The band came together as one giant and rocking forcefield, blending their individual personalities and instrumentation into this musical journey they provide the audience with. Their new record, You Will Know Nothing, came out earlier this year via Riding Easy Records, and you really will know nothing until you see them preform it live. Not a bad record by any stretch, but simply listening to it does not do Here Lies Man justice. These songs are not simply meant to be heard, but felt.. as most good music is. And seeing their live performance, it was just that. The energy in the room was undeniable, as they crowd jumped, danced, bounced, and bobbed along to the fuzzy yet crisp and tight psychedelic power-grooves provided by Here Lies Man for the duration of their set. The crazed rock n roll vibe of the band complied with almost jazz and R&B fusion makes their style a tad difficult to articulate, which makes it all the more intriguing and rewarding to listen to and experience. Without SO much going on that the music does not become complete hipster nonsense, it rather plays out like a soundtrack to a completely chaotic and vibrant action film… which is, awesome. Their record very much plays out and is meant to be listened to like a soundtrack, the music telling a story and guiding you through a narrative; but even more so live. Even stating, “this is the part of the movie when things go wrong,” before exploding into a tuned that provided a quite fitting and upbeat violent score, Here Lies Man chain you along to them on this musical venture into chaos. And its a hell of a party.
Each member of Here Lies Man definitely provides something unique and special, yet for together perfect like an army, which is a dead give away of a legit band. The drummer stood out to me the most, just absolutely wrecking shit behind the kit, but completely locking into an undeniable groove with perfect timing. The bassist kept a coffin-tight groove with delicious, fat, tone. There’s not much more to ask for there. Only next to a keyboard spicing things up on a very regular basis without repeating itself, it really adds a whole wild and exciting dimension to the music. Of course, the lead guitarist and singer kept it tight and groovy. Proving himself to be more of a bluesy-yet-groovy and catchy riff lord than a death defying vocalist, as Here Lies Man is primarily instrumental, his cool, calm nature played perfectly against the intensity of the rest of the band. Hardly taking a single second in-between tunes, Here Lies Man provided one hell of a fun and dangerously rocking live music experience that won’t soon be forgotten. Thanks again to everyone involved for putting on such a great show on a random Sunday night.. it rocked. Finally getting to see them exciting experience, as a long time fanboy of Riding Easy, this would be (what I can remember) the first time I saw one of their bands live, and they’ve certainly set the bar high.