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Review: Lightning Bolt at the ES Jungle



In the past year or so, The E.S. Jungle has seen more experimental music than ever before, thanks to promoter Sia Hanna. Hanna, who recently organized a showcase for artists on Beardology Records, is working to bring an eclectic mix of electronic, minimal and noise-based music to the all-ages scene. When I heard that she booked the dynamic duo Lightning Bolt for last Friday night, I was elated.

Brian Chippendale and Brian Gibson of Lightning Bolt have been playing together since 1994, though it wasn’t until 1997 that they recorded their first album. Watching them at The E.S. Jungle was like wading in a pool of abrasive sound. The crowd ranged from the “mosh warriors” of the front, to the middle layer of people struggling to see the band and getting splashed by pre-pubescent back sweat. There was also a far outer layer of people standing on chairs in an attempt to see over the pit. As soon as Lightning Bolt started, the room went rabid.

Lightning Bolt at the ES Jungle. Photo by S. Raychel.

Wearing a facemask, Chippendale supplied vocal effects while pounding the drums into sweet, noisy oblivion. Gibson’s distorted guitar tapping and loops were hypnotic.

Follow Lightning Bolt's epic journey on their website, and Myspace.

The openers weren't too shabby either. First up was the local electronic duo, Meltface, who combined a steady bass line with abrasive, provocative noises to create an ambient feel. It was a solid way to start off the night, and the crowd seemed to approve of their experimental approach.

Second was Edifice, a lone man behind a laptop. Though he lacked hardware, Edifice made up for it by collaborating local artist Christopher Steffes. Steffes applied layers of colors either by brushing to the beat or letting paint randomly fall out of the bottle onto the canvas. While the final product of the painting wasn't all that impressive, the development of the shapes and colors over time suited the progressive approach of the electronic performance.

Edifice at the ES Jungle. Photo by S. Raychel.

The guys in Phoenix Bodies kept their clothes on throughout their entire set. This is certainly a feat. Shows are few and far between for the fan-favorite hardcore band, with several members living outside of Indianapolis. And while the rumor spread that the band would play its last show Friday night at the E.S. Jungle, we'll maintain hope that the rumor was unfounded, and that Indy will see them reconvene on special occasions.


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