Looking a bit like a homeless-era Peter Green, Brett Netson, guitarist for Caustic Resin and Built to Spill, stepped onto the stage at Red Room on Aug. 5 and said, "This is going to be loud."
He wasn't kidding.
Netson's guitar hit the audience like a sonic haboob, instantly enveloping them in a colossal sound, a hypnotic buzzsaw drone that could rattle innards. Over that, he sang vocals so drenched in reverb that the melody slurred as if drunk.
The first song The Brett Netson Band (Netson's new solo project) played, moved back and forth between two chords, allowing no silence to sneak through. Beneath the chords, the rhythm section kept things steadfast with one thunderous mid-tempo, cymbal-heavy beat. Between the drone of volume and the psychedelic vocals, it was easily what The Beatles "Tomorrow Never Knows" might have sounded like had it been a product of the grunge era.
Netson scaled things back a bit for the second song, easing up on the distortion but not on the vocal effects. The song definitely wouldn't qualify as a ballad but it moved in similar directions.
Some bands are true collaborations. Some are just there to back one central sound or set of ideas. The Brett Netson Band falls more into the latter category. Though the rhythm section was solid, the core of the sound and the arrangements were Netson's guitar-based explorations of the nature of sonic reality.
The band finished off with another 15-minute blast of pure noise. When it was finished, to quote Wesley Willis, "The crowd roared like a lion."
The Brett Netson Band only played three songs and Netson had a simple explanation for that.
"We have a short set. It's a new band," Netson said.