Absolute Monarchs, Strong Killings, Swayze, and White Coward at The Highline

Daniel Ahrendt / February 27, 2012

Michael von Stubblefield III (drums) and Joel Schneider (bass) of Absolute Monarchs (All photos by Daniel Ahrendt)

Presented by Nik Christofferson (Seattle Rock Guy/Good To Die Records), Thursday’s gig at The Highline on Broadway featured four solid reasons to embrace the continued gritty potential of Seattle’s rock and punk. Christofferson did a great job of pulling a solid sample from the city’s strata featuring a grating mixture of stripped down punk, stoner metal, noise, and unexpected harmony. Since this was my first time at the metal/vegan-centric bar, I can safely say that The Highline is itself an excellent entity, upstairs from the street and several windows of lingerie. Add to that an elevator and a drunk guy all but rejoicing at the discovery of a 24 rack of Pabst, and I’m sure I just described paradise for around three people reading this.

Shawn Kock (guitar) of Absolute Monarchs

Absolute Monarchs have been kicking it about Seattle for the past few years, playing their blasted mono thrash in front of a diverse range of acts such as Les Savy Fav, Cold Cave, and Red Fang. They’ve received a fair amount of love from Spin, City Arts, and this publication for their harmonically stripped down take on post-hardcore. Until recently they’ve been almost exclusively known for tunes of a sonically dark thrash nature with snippets of instrumental melody introduced here and there. On Thursday night they featured a good deal of material with more of the latter and less of the former, albeit still encasing the growling proclamations of vocalist and bass player Joel Schneider and the rusty, surgical mechanics of Shawn Kock‘s guitar. The band will release their debut full length 1 on April 17th through Good To Die Records.

Miki Sodos (guitar) of Absolute Monarchs


Nate Mooter (guitar) and Mike Loggins (drums) of Strong Killings

It’s been a bit since I’ve seen punk bleaters and creamers Strong Killings in action, and they continue to perform wonderfully. The band is now a constantly strange energetic fusion of Richard Hell traditionalism and post-hardcore reminiscent of the early Blood Brothers, all rolled into three buoyant boys. Guitarist Nate Mooter picks out wonderfully varied lines while maintaining an outstanding amount of stage awareness in the midst of all his pogoing. They’re a tiny, not so personal festival of adulterated joy.



White Coward

Openers Swayze and White Coward were equally intense but polar opposites of tone. While Swayze did a blown-out job of vomiting stoner metal and Melvins-esque howling, White Coward produced the sort of always driving, no-wave noise punk walls mostly affiliated with labels such as Skin Graft and Three One G. Both are sounds Seattle needs more of.



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