with Torche and Whores.
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 – Motorco – Durham
The crisp autumn air reminds me that RDU Music is approaching the end of another concert season. Sure, bands still swing through in the winter but our collective appetite for leaving the house when the weather is cold nears rock bottom. But if there is one thing that will postpone our annual hibernation, it’s dank-ass riffs. It’s a good thing they were being bandied about Durham last Wednesday at Motorco by Red Fang, Torche, and Whores.
This was an interesting bill for me. I have seen both Red Fang and Torche a couple of times each. I was already aware that they know how to bring the thunder but I was most excited for Whores. They had just released both of their EPs for free on Bandcamp the week before, so I was spinning them religiously. Then I bought their raucous new full-length, Gold, to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into. I spun all three that afternoon at my soul-crushing office job in order to make damn sure that I was fully prepared for all the dirty riffs. Whores. did not disappoint.
The entire RDU Music staff rolled into Durham, ready to light the town on fire. For about 15 minutes or until we got tired. Whichever came first. We met up with friend of the program and riff aficionado, Nate, and made for the bar. There was no way we were leaving the house on a Wednesday without drinking. C’mon, son. We also ran into new friend of the program, Doug. [That’s right, ladies and germs. Hitch your wagon to the RDU Music rising star. We’re going places. -Ed.] Up first was Atlanta-based noise merchants, Whores. I’m gonna level with you here, folks: I was most excited to see how Whores. translated to a live setting. Goddamn, was I impressed. They won the night without even trying. Pure rawk, no pretense. Their bio says it best: We were in other bands. Now we’re in this band. Soon we will all be deaf. Commercially moribund, second wave, first class, good times, bad vibes. I got chills.
Whores. came out and kicked the fucking door down. I was prepared for some rawk but I was not prepared to be blown away after the first 5 minutes. Frontman Christian’s high E broke midway through the set but we all know that string is expendable when you bring the noise. He switched out guitars and didn’t miss a beat. Keep your eyes peeled for Whores. as they cut a swath through this great(ish) country of ours. Whores. take no prisoners and are incapable of turning down the volume.
Lan also astutely pointed out that Christian looked like he had a case of the donkeys.
Liz Lemon: Still haven’t found your wallet, Kenneth?
Kenneth Parcell: Yeah, and I realize I had a prescription in there that I really need. It keeps me from…
[Starts convulsing and braying]
Kenneth Parcell: Don’t worry, it’s just a donkey spell.
Next up was Torche, a band I have been following since they dropped their first full-length on Robotic Empire back in ’05. They also put out records on Hydra Head and Relapse. With that kind of label pedigree, you know they are legit. Unfortunately, they had an off-night in Durham. I was drinking so I didn’t keep up with the setlist but I wonder if they simply spread themselves too thin. With such a rich and varied back catalog, I found myself getting lost in the movements. Setlist.fm let me down this time so I can’t verify but I feel like Torche’s set jumped around too much and never got a chance to gel with each era of their sound. I would have been stoked to hear 3 off of Meanderthal, 3 off of my personal favorite, Songs for Singles, and then 3 off of Restarter. That would have added a thread of cohesion to their set. Instead, they were never quite able to hit their stride, following such a bitchin’ set from Whores. Don’t worry, fellas. It is a well-established fact that you guys shred. I’ll see you again the next time you roll through.
Side note: Steve from Torche looks like he wants to order a liter of cola.
I didn’t realize that Red Fang were such a big deal. After Torche, I headed to the bar to grab another beer. When I turned back around to the stage, Motorco was packed to the gills. I had a hard time jockeying for position but was able to find a spot behind the 3rd tallest person in the crowd. When Red Fang took the stage, the air was immediately electrified as they kicked off the set with crowd-favorite “Wires” off of their 2011 Relapse debut, Murder the Mountains. [Setlist.fm let me down for the Raleigh show but it looks like the setlist was the same on surrounding nights so I feel confident that I got it right. If not, take it up with my editor. -Ed.] I remember that song fondly as the video for it was a PBR- and gasoline-soaked fun fest, documenting the boys blowing through their video budget check in a 1979 Impala Station Wagon.
The sold-out Motorco crowd showed some serious love for Red Fang throughout the entire set. The air was electric as the riffs flowed like water. I’m glad to see such a great lineup full of talented riff-makers pack Durham’s largest music venue (according to durham-nc.com). Here’s hoping the Motorco can continue booking shows of such high caliber in the future.