Lee Buford and Chip King of The Body have said themselves that they aren’t really accepted by the metal community and don’t fit in. In fact, they are more embraced by the noise community then by metal fans. This was quite evident at the show they played in Albuquerque this March.
Four openers were put on the tab with The Body, all local and not a single one comparable to Buford and King. This was expected of course, but the Launchpad did do a better job at finding openers compared to the stoner-rock bands that have opened for The Body before. All of the openers were some degree of hardcore, punk, or noise, with each set becoming more and more intense. The last of the openers, local hardcore-noise outfit, Bath House reached a pinnacle of physical intensity for the night. Their harsh fast paced sound existed at a noticeable level above the rest of the openers and their energy was unmatched. The lead singer screeched into the microphone and tore from one side of the stage to the other, eventually knocking over a monitor and breaking a beer glass. He was too immersed in his set to notice. The most respectable thing about the openers was their use of Sunn 0))) amp heads. Three bands that night, The Body included, used the branded gear, but only The Body used it even close to its full potential.
The Body pulled quite the following for Albuquerque. A fair amount of the noise community was in attendance with an equal number of metal fans. For the most part, a majority of the people understood what they were in for, but of course there were the few who did not.
As the clock ticked past midnight, Buford and King took the stage. Before that night my listening experiences with The Body had been strictly kept to their studio album. They do not compare. Their music is supposed to be felt not heard. Most bands differ between the stage and the studio but nowhere close to the level of difference The Body has.
After quite a bit of trouble shooting with the soundman, the room went black and the fog machines were kicked on full blast. I remember Chip King specifically telling the soundman to turn down the volume on his microphone so you can barely hear it. As confused as I was, I was not the asshole who asked if he didn’t want us to hear him. King calmly agreed that he did not want us to hear him and then promptly started the show. From the first drum hit and distorted guitar note, a wall of noise rose before the audience. It was more of a sensation then a sound. My chest vibrated uncontrollably and I was forced to lean on the stage to keep still enough to stand. Buford’s brutally slow drumming was the only thing that separated itself from the layers and layers of distortion, but it was also the drumming that led me deeper into the unknown. There were a few occasions when King would hit a different effect and the vibrating in my body would subside. In these moments King’s tortured vocals were finally audible. These lapses were not a break in their spell, no they were just another twisted path to be sent down.
At some point in the set, it is impossible to know when; I was brought very near hallucination, partly because of Buford’s bass drumhead. On it was a face garbed in a hood with old script calligraphy around the outside. I believe the words say “I with thee die with me,” but it is difficult to decipher what it says and I was in no state to that night. My eyes were locked with the face on the bass drum and the vibrations from Buford’s kick brought it to life. The face moved off of the drum and brought all of my recent emotions surging to the surface. By the end of their thirty-minute set I was in a state of total numbness and bliss. It was one of those sets that felt infinitely long but at the same time was over with before it even begun.
As I surveyed the crowd as I left, I noticed everyone else there in similar states of discord. King and Buford put on one of the most compelling and utterly immersing shows I have seen in a long time.