The first thing I saw when I walked into the Neurolux for the Jucifer show on Saturday night was a floor-to-ceiling wall of amplifiers—quite a set up for a band consisting of two musicians. But singer/guitarist Amber Valentine and drummer Edgar Livengood are known for putting their wall of sound to good use.
Most people who've seen this grindcore, metalesque duo would probably have one bit of advice for those who haven't: "Wear ear plugs." I rolled the little wads of foam between my fingers, stuffed them in my ears and prepared for sensory overload.
Valentine came out first, dressed in a long black robe that made her blend seamlessly with the dark stage as she crept about, making a final equipment check. Almost without warning, she tossed the robe aside, picked up her guitar, and struck a brain-jarring chord, at which point Livengood stepped behind his massive drum set and slammed his sticks against the snare. The sound was more vibration than distinguishable notes—the kind of thick sound wave you could lean into and almost feel your weight being supported by the music.
Most of the set was from their latest album, L'Autrichienne, but if I didn't already know the songs, I'm not sure I would have been able to distinguish one from the next. Part of the beauty of seeing Jucifer live is that it's a completely different experience from listening to their albums.
They closed the show with the song "Ides of Light" from their War Bird EP and, toward the end, Valentine stopped railing her guitar long enough to sing a few lines. It was the first time I heard her voice that night, and it was stunning ... a perfect end to the show.