“Think of [moving] like Tetris. You’ve gotta fit everything into one space.” In many puzzle games, you get bonus points for lumping similar pieces together. That sort of design philosophy carries over into album sorting as well. How strictly do you adhere to empirical alphabetical order? Do you count articles [the/el]? Do you lump side projects by members of a band with the band’s discography? Or do you loosely lump albums by genre or …mood?
“I drove eight hours to get here!” Tool is a progressive metal band that, years after their contemporaries faded from popularity, easily sell out amphitheatres or 27,500 tickets in minutes. Their aggressive intelligence, both musically with complex time signatures rarely seen within rock music and philosophically with lyrics that encourage self-awareness, might be why so many were willing to embark on the odyssey. Was it worth the 7-hour drive compared to watching a live video?
While there’s a certain value in consistency, how worthwhile is it to the audience if the performers (and consider this thought to be applicable to any function-driven pursuit along with creative pursuits) are just going to remain comfortably good enough? Pushing the boundaries can lead to amazing experiences or can burn out faster than the candle in the photo featuring Crack Sabbath performing recently at the Royal Room. Where’d Skerik and company fall?
Sirens wail at the end of Crack Sabbath sets, perhaps in case you weren’t already out of your seat. The ensemble, led by saxophonist Skerik, resembles more of a punk band playing jazz, or, the sort of jazz that had spunk like hard bop or Afrobeat before the genre retired with partial pension. That’s the thing, because as the name implies, they could tour with a traditional Black Sabbath cover band and hold pace.
You’ve gotta start somewhere. Year of the Cobra, along with other bands expanding the Seattle sound into heavier territory like Wounded Giant and Devils Hunt Me Down, could eventually boil over into wider acclaim. They’re tenacious enough to perform as much as they can. Fill the opening “local band” slot for some rock bands that don’t sound anything like you? Sure! Any opportunity to practice, refine and develop their sound, aiming to win new fans and solidify existing fans.