Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tweezer reunited (again) at the Earl Fri., Feb. 25

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Noise rock retirees Tweezer reconvened for the second time over the last year to headline the Earl Friday night (Feb. 25) with a show of grungy, droning distortion and genuinely dangerous stage antics. A giant rubber head (pictured above) was hurled at the audience repeatedly, a microphone stand was heaved at the crowd, and a bottle of Jameson was passed around the room to numb the pain.

By the time Tweezer took the stage the room had already been trashed by the Go-Devils reunion show that went down beforehand. The scene could have been plucked from a night at Dottie's circa 1994, and dropped in the East Atlanta of here and now, highlighting just how much things have changed since Tweezer’s heyday. Performance art has always been part of the group’s M.O., but it’s art that could cause you bodily harm. Their newest addition, bass player Jason Hatcher pounded out squalls of feedback and rhythm while frontman Timmy Smith stalked the stage with an expressionless, sociopath glare. Those who stayed to swarm the stage after the microphone stand hit the ground with an ominous thud looked like the kind of crew that could take the abuse.

All of this activity gave rise to an air of contempt in the room which, in itself, carried a sense of nostalgia. Tweezer was born in a time when the post-punk, underground rock scene, or whatever you want to call it, placed a high premium on angst. It was the same visceral drive that fueled the likes of such noise rock luminaries as Helmet, early Boss Hog, Cows, Cop Shoot Cop and a bunch of other great bands that had zero commercial potential. It was also the sort of sound that was neutered by the likes of Tool on mainstream radio. But unlike the names dropped here, Tweezer remained steeped in Southern, outsider weirdness, and that hasn’t changed in the downtime. It was a visceral exercise in maniacally lashing out to the tune of grinding noise and drawn-out rhythms. Each song adhered to its own rules, and although no song reached the explosive charge that it threatened, a storm of riffs arched, swelled, screamed and set themselves up to fly over the top. But the climax was an illusion, and that seems to be partly by design. When it comes to Tweezer the end is less important than the abrasive dirge the group rode along the way.

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