Live at Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, May 14 2018
Words by Rachel Goodman
Photos by Corgam
Have you ever been to a show, where days later, you cant get the images and sounds out of your head? Early on last week was that night when Preoccupations performed as a bombastic beast of a band that bit your arm and never let go. The band quite literally felt like it had torn you up and spit you out and still left you wanting more. So, it's rather heartbreaking that the next day the band woke up to find their van and all of their gear stolen.
The Canadian band, who is on tour for their new album New Material, is not holding back any punches with a 90 minute powerhouse of a show. Preoccupations came out with guitars blazing with plenty of reverb and effects. The band played a good mix of their other albums opening the set with the droning and screening guitars of "Select Your Drone". The band came alive as they powered through the song and never let up. It was a good indication of what was to come. Preoccupations then went into songs off their first album, "Continental Shelf", "Silhouettes" when they were playing as Viet Cong. Noise-punk/post-punk songs that filled the room with Matt Flegel's vocals piercing through the air. Bassist/singer Flegel shouted the songs with a kaleidoscope of colors spinning around the stage, the band went psychedelic.
It was really hard to ignore the white elephant in the room, which was Mike Wallace on drums. His drumming is an assault to the senses. Its rhythmic chaos to watch as his hands fly and the bass drum and floor tom don't let up. It is impossible to not be fixated on him as he plays. On newer songs like "Disarray", Flegel sings over distorted guitars with his emotional vocals. The song just evokes feeling and has a catchy guitar riff that never leaves. "Decompose" is all distorted synth sounds from Scott "Monty" Munro who carries the song.
Preoccupations ended the night with a punch performing "Bunker Buster" which had so much shredding from everyone in the band. It was hard to not watch Daniel Christansen standing in front of me working his guitar. The band was tight and really became one. The bass lines overlayed on the song were hauntingly beautiful. The set ended with the epic "Death" which was a roughly 10 minute song of loud, noisy, distortion that had the crowd engaged. From the moment the guitars started to the last minute of the cymbal coming down, the song was pure electric energy. A mosh pit of 3 attempted to break out, but never came to fruition. Everyone was too engaged and just feeling the music pulsate through their body.