by Josh Gross
The trick for a two-piece band is to sound bigger than the sum of its parts. Many try, and most fall short. Seattle band Antique Scream is another story.
Though there were only a handful of people in the audience at Red Room Jan. 22—mostly heshers in snowboots with an 8:1 ratio of dudes to ladies—the duo held nothing back, blasting through a set of face-melters, using only drums and a long guitar to create a giant rock sound that sped up mustache growth and tightened jeans just to hear.
Guitarist Christopher Rutledge played a Danelectro, split through two amps and an octave pedal to get the bone-rattling low end. His riffs and style had clear Sabbath influence, with speedy lines of overdriven notes in blues scales. Rutledge had stoner sludge and shred precision, especially in the syncopation between his riffs and the nitro-fuled drumming of William Fees.
Topped off with a metal wail, Antique Scream rocked so hard, it shook one of the stage lights loose from the ceiling, which shattered around Rutledge's feet, plunging his side of the stage into darkness.
"Thank you," Rutledge said when the song ended. "Sorry we broke your light bulb."
Antique Scream is metal from the 1970s, not the '80s. It's handlebar mustaches and Econoline vans, not spandex pants and Aqua Net. Deep Purple would approve.
"This one's about magic," Rutledge announced in a rare bit of stage banter.
Though the precision never let up, the tone and lack of instrumental variance started to become tedious toward the end of Antique Scream's set. But in short bursts, it was truly impressive.
"If anyone wants to let us stay with them tonight, that would be rad," Rutledge said.