Russian Circles and Chelsea Wolfe at the El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles

Posted on 22 August 2012

The Sargent House Records show with Deafheaven, And So I Watch You From Afar, Chelsea Wolfe, and headliners Russian Circles was an amazing mix of eclectic music and an awesome show. All the bands were great and Sargent House really knows how to organize an outstanding show.

The first band Deafheaven are actually one of my new favorite bands. They are from San Francisco and toured with Russian Circles throughout the US. Deafheaven is in my opinion a hardcore band with a mixture of shoegaze and influences of black metal music. The songs have long, atmospheric guitar riffs and screamo vocals. The songs have numerous buildups and slow down at certain points lasting quite long, but the songs never seem too long. Most of their songs are more then seven minutes long, so their opening set for this show only had about 4 songs. They have been classified as being a black metal band, however both Deafheaven and I disagree. I kicked it with the band and for awhile after their amazing performance outside the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles for a short interview to learn the truth:

Carey from Swell City Guide: Are you a black metal band?

Deafheaven: We are not black metal, but we are influenced by black metal music.

Carey from Swell City Guide: What are your influences?

Deafheaven: Our music influences are everything from 90s shoegaze, post
Rock bands like Joy Division and black metal bands like Burzum and Wigrid.

Carey from Swell City Guide: What are your lyrics about?

Deafheaven: Our lyrics are about life. We are trying to express human emotions.

Carey from Swell City Guide: Any new music and releases coming out soon?

Deafheaven: In the next year we are writing new stuff which will release in the near future.

Deafheaven has two releases. The first release is called Demo with four songs. This album may have only four songs, but it is amazing. My favorite song is “Daedalus” which is an anthem! I asked them to play it, but they were concerned they didn’t have much time as the opening band. Demo was just rereleased as a vinyl package on the Sargent House website. You can get this remastered album on a 12 inch record, with a Deafheaven American Apparel t-shirt, and a record player slip mat at for yourself.

The second release called Roads to Judah is also great and they mostly played this album. With songs like “Violet” that begin with guitars and drive hard with machine gun like drums and melodramatic vocals, this album is a classic and great to blast while driving in traffic to release some daily angst. I am excited to see Deafheavens next release and I think both albums are great.

The next band was And So I Watch you from Afar. Their music is very technical, yet the guitar riffs are so amazing they speak to the listener. Therefore, lyrics are not really necessary and most songs do not have any lyrics. I felt lucky to see this band as they came all the way from Ireland to perform. They were great and you should buy their songs on Sargent House. I like the song ” 7 Billion People All Alive at Once ” which has also been remixed by fellow Belfast group Jape. You can listen to these songs also on the Sargent House website at and check it out.

Chelsea Wolfe was the third band and what a great idea to mix genres in a show. Not only is she beautiful and quite fashionable, but her music is great. It was nice to hear a different style of music rather then all the bands being heavy testosterone-fueled rock music. Her sound is a combo of indie, goth, witch house, and electronica. She played guitar in most songs, but during some songs she put down the guitar and concentrated on singing only. She really does have an amazing dark angelic voice. I really like her new album “Apokalypsis” and the album has been featured on many websites as one of the best albums of 2011. Chelsea’s voice is great and her band mates were all very good musicians, too. I really like the songs “Mer” and “Demons” . You can listen to the whole album on Sargent House’s website at to hear it for yourself. I’m certain you will want to buy this album and her others after listening to them.

Russian Circles was the final, headlining band. So far every band was amazing and Sargent House organized a phenomenal show. I didn’t anticipate Russian Circles would disappoint me. I briefly read Guitarist magazine, which stated how superb of a guitar player Mike Sullivan is in Russian Circles. I totally agree. The music speaks for itself and no lyrics are necessary. I really enjoy instrumental rock bands such as Pelican, Mogwai, Godspeed you Black Emperor, and Russian Circles, of course. I like every song they write and each musician is amazing. Bass, drums and guitar make this 3 piece a wall of sound for a small band. I waited patiently to buy their new
record on vinyl from their merch booth. I really like the Sargent house website where u can listen to all of Russian Circles’ albums as well as every band on the label. It is a great website that allows you to hear every song by this amazing band. I believe every single song they create is wonderful.

Russian Circles played over an hour and I estimate they played 10-15 songs. The crowd was roaring for an encore and they ended the night with an amazing, amazing performance. I would love to see Russian Circles again, hopefully in the near future.

In conclusion every band was quite amazing and Sargent House truly knows how to organize a great show. I look forward to the next one.

-Carey Steinberg

Categorized | Art & Culture

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