By Jett Wells
Make no mistake about it: HEALTH, the Los Angeles noise-rock quartet, are utterly insane in concert. But it's an artfully-crafted brand of insane. On stage, they send out torrents of explosive, violent sound that leaves you numb and foggy-headed and soaked in liters of your own sweat. Those were my first few thoughts during their Saturday (June 20) night assault at Brooklyn art-dive the Market Hotel. Then I hit on another: John Famiglietti is the most dynamic and ferocious bassist in indie rock right now.
Here's why: Minutes before kicking off the show, Famiglietti stepped up to the front of the Market Hotel's tiny, construction-paper covered stage, strapped on his long, red electric bass and plugged in his plethora of effect pedals. How many pedals could a bassist possibly need? Apparently Famiglietti needed a lot, and only moments later it was clear why.
Within seconds, HEALTH launched into a pile-up of slamming drums and singer Jake Duzsik's hypnotizing howl. There was no melody or rhythm — just organized chaos. Even though the music was startling and maddening, the band's energy was undeniably entrancing as Famiglietti swung his own body like rag doll.
It was terrifying and disorienting, but also raw and loud and amazing. The venue — chosen at the last minute because rain had prevented the show from being in its original outdoor state — was also somewhat terrifying: Rickety steel staircases held together by duct tape, tiny triangle-shaped rooms and a toilet lifted directly from "Trainspotting." It was the best possible place to catch HEALTH's brand of sonic terrorism.
I left the club soaked and winded, and I wasn't even sure what I had experienced. It was completely out of control, but entirely worth it. That's the mark of a killer rock show.