A Place to Bury Strangers' Theater of Feedback Ravages Fitz

A Place to Bury Strangers Fitzgerald's February 26, 2015

Thursday night, the world's loudest three-piece rock and roll band made ears ring without regretting the premature acquisition of tinnitus.

A Place to Bury Strangers created a tone of desperation and wild abandon while playing to a mesmerized audience downstairs at Fitzgerald's Thursday night. The bravest of them stood directly in front of the stage, braving both front man Oliver Ackermann's Kabuki theatrics and the tsunami of feedback produced by the evening's actors.

Act I began with their latest material from their new album Transfixation. The players seized the stage, gripping the audience members by their throats with little hope for release. The band never came up for air during the show's first 25 minutes. A spirit that was mostly punk with obvious nods to the Ramones, coupled with generous references to Spacemen 3 and Jesus and the Mary Chain, sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. Ackerman and company played their pedals, played their mikes, and played their amps without restraint.

In the middle of Act I, violence ensued. Ackermann repeatedly stabbed Fitzgerald's stage with his guitar, eventually forcing the instrument to surrender to his premeditated brutality. Dissatisfied with the results, he left his guitar during moments to furiously kick his amp. Displeasure never sounded so riotous.

Act II provided little release. The feedback bled into the crowd as drummer Robi Gonzalez, bassist Dion Lunandon and Ackermann brandished a vintage drum machine as a new weapon of choice. They performed tracks spanning their entire catalog, including their brilliant self-titled debut album that helped the band to land a slot on Nine Inch Nails' 2008 tour. The trio huddled together like co-conspirators planning the perfect murder, as the 808s were fed through an assembly of Ackermann's designed effects from his pedal company Death by Audio.

The remainder of the act moved through with suspicious intrigue. Moments occurred when the feedback was manipulated only by carefully turned knobs on Ackerman's pedal board. He squeezed the life out of every sound as the conspirators agreed to the details of their carefully laid plans. In contrast, an aesthetically pleasing light show distracted the audience from their diabolical scheme. Purple stars projected onto Fitzgerald's ceiling, rotating in and out of sight.

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Act III began when seizure-inducing strobes finished what APTBS started. Leaving no witnesses, sparing no bystanders, they returned to their weapons of choice with both new and old material. Like most Greek tragedies, no one was left alive. The feedback saturated the air. Asphyxiated victims were blanketed by the dry ice hanging over the stage like a fog.

Once the lights came back on, APTBS revealed a smoke-filled stage with no one present. Like mastermind criminals, the assailants disappeared without a trace.

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