by Josh Gross
I went to Neurolux on Friday night just because the headlining band was called Fang Island. Once you start there, it's nearly impossible to go wrong.
However, Fang Island went horribly, horribly wrong by bringing Zechs Marquise along as the opening act on its current tour, because the audio ass-kicking it delivered to the sparse audience would have been nearly impossible to follow for anyone, let alone a band whose name is more interesting than its tunes.
Zechs Marquise brought giant, thuderously spacey riffs and complex instrumental arrangements to the stage that were equal parts modern fusion and jam session from a Big Brother and the Holding Company live album. Between the synchronized guitar solos in Middle Eastern modes like a Persian Iron Maiden and the sounds of swirling winds as if the band actually was summoning the forces of darkness, Zechs Marquise could just as easily have called itself "The Brown Acid" and pulled it off.
Holding it all together was the powerhouse drumming of Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, whose complex flourishes and fills matched to the instrumental riffs were a breath of fresh air from beats that charge straight ahead, never considering the possibility they can function every bit as melodically as guitars.
As Zechs Marquise wrapped up its set, the band's bass player, Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez, assured the audience that "Fang Island will melt your faces off, in the best possible way."
But after the ninjary of Zechs Marquise, Fang Island felt pretty tame—defanged if you will. Instead of being overrun by a complex and perfectly orchestrated assault, it was more of a slash and burn, with big boring walls of guitars that cared little for the negative space and were compressed to the point of mush. The high point of the set was the super-pumped faces and karate kicks of the third guitar player. But after a band like Zechs Marquise, it wasn't nearly enough.