Boris - Rubber Gloves Rehersal Studios - April 26, 2013
Take a little walk to the edge of town, and go across the tracks. Rather than a viaduct looming, there you will find the incomparable Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Described on its website as an "industrial dive bar", I take this to mean that the quantities of dive involved in the construction of RGRS were of industrial scale. It truly is a monument to dive bars, dank, dark, loud and poorly ventilated. There is one toilet per sex, and I wouldn't touch it if my nearest and dearest had fallen down it and desperately needed extracting.
This isn't to say that RGRS isn't a fantastic venue. If you think a venue like this is incapable of putting on a good show, then may I direct you to the nearest corporate mega-bowl where your wallet will be politely extracted. Navigating the long line, formed thanks to the bizarre restrictions that you must sign in as a "member" of the "club" to drink inside, we arrived just in time to catch the end of DFW stalwarts Pinkish Black's set. With the early arrivals crammed into the, at a rough estimate, 40% of the available space which forms the room where the gig is played (the bar and bathrooms are through a door, away from the stage), you could hear the distinctive wail rise over the pounding drums from quite some distance away. Certainly the line to get in, twisting out into the darkness past a sometimes-functioning street light, are aware Pinkish Black are on the stage. It's a good thing when you can hear a sound and go "that sound, that is very Pinkish Blackish" because it means a local gem like this (and they are undoubtedly a local gem) have nailed down a distinctive sound, and that it works.
Pinkish Black were followed by Thrones, and I must color myself stupid, as I was totally unaware that Joe Preston, formerly of the Melvins and High On Fire, had a solo project. An unassuming-looking older guy, Preston took to the stage with nothing but an 80s-style bass with no head and a drum machine. He then proceeded to blast RGRS to pieces with the slowest, sludgiest, bassiest set you could ever hope to hear. It's just one guy. It's just one bass guitar. He's the support act, and he's playing songs ten minutes in length that don't have any drums, just chords played on a deep, distorted bass. It's incredible, and not just because it's Joe Goddamn Preston, one of my bass playing heroes, and I had no concept he would be here. Those populating the tiny dark room, characterized by its three ceiling fans hopelessly trying to stop people and machines overheating, are stricken with a lack of any idea how they may legitimately react. It only gets stranger and cooler - Preston gives a short speech about how long he's been doing this now, cues up a sample from The Exorcist ("THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!"), lets it loop for what seems like an eternity, and then somehow comes in exactly cued with a drum machine to give us a full mesmerizing ten minutes of filthy, low-down set closer "Obolus", a shoe-gaze experience much like drifting out helplessly into space, only expressed through mind-bogglingly slow, venue-rattling bass power chords and vocals distorted to the point of sounding like a church organ. Seriously, it's on Spotify. Fire it up.