By: Megan Fair, Contributor
"Where am I?" I muttered to myself as I watched Zack Kouns beat another man with a leather whip, and later as he convulsed violently on the floor. To be clear, I was at the Smiling Skull seeing aforementioned Zack Kouns, as well as Gazer and Sign Off.
Anywho, Zack Kouns. His set could be best described as noisy, intriguing and haunting--just a strange man with lots of vocal effects and some technology producing plenty of strange noises. They were the kind of terrifying and controlled chaotic sounds you'd hear resonating through a very messed up fun house. There are definitely clowns in said fun house. It reminded me of Sunn O))) in the sense that it was rather ambient and haunting. I certainly wasn't bored. It was quite the spectacle.
Post-Mr. Kouns, Cincinnati-based Gazer played its first show outside of Cincy. Welcome to Athens, post-punk hombres. The three piece's sound could best be described in a simile: it's as if you tossed old Nirvana demos, The Chariot's Long Live and The Dillinger Escape Plan into a musical blender and blended it into a delicious, biting post-punk milkshake. I certainly drank it up. There's something irresistible about the wild energy that a mixture like that brings to the table. The set kept everyone's attention and contained some pleasantly diverse songs that I'd listen to of my own accord.
Sign Off brought an excited crowd, and the band played a frantic set. That's a really good way to describe a lot of the music tonight--frantic. The crowd was boisterously hollering and shouting at every opportunity for the experimental two-piece. There was noise and reverb for all to enjoy. The Portsmouth post-punkers are certainly an experience to behold.
Overall, the night was an ear-ringing, boisterous event that left everyone entertained or at least really curious.