Concert Review: HEALTH @ Rock and Roll Hotel (4/28/19)

HEALTH
HEALTH (Photo Credit: Faith Crawford)

Noise rocking!

Sometimes a show just leaves you wanting more.

The LA noise rockers, HEALTH, burned fast and bright for the Rock and Roll Hotel crowd on Sunday, April 28th.

And the place was crammed to the rafters* with people excited to be blown away by new and old kick-ass music. HEALTH is touring for their fourth album, Vol. 4 :: Slaves of Fear.

From rhythmic drum bursts, to ear-shattering guitar riffs (often entering into speed metal mode), to Jacob Duzsik’s smooth and subdued vocals, there was still a lot to process over HEALTH’s roughly 45 minutes of epic noise. Most of their songs were short (and not so sweet), but they did get through 18 in the course of the set.

They kicked off with “Victim” from their third album, Death Magic. The lyrics ‘Know we’re never gonna feel the same as it was today’, is a little apropos if this proved to be your first time witnessing HEALTH live (as it was for me).

The three-piece band came together in 2005, with Jacob, John Famiglietti (bass), and BJ Miller (drums). The stage was dimly lit, and energetic motion and a trucker hat were about all that was visible from many vantage points.

They performed five songs from Vol. 4 :: Slaves of Fear, an album you could describe as much more of a pop sound than previous outings. And many of its recordings were collaborations with other artists. “GOD BOTHERER” thrashed into our consciousness and set the tone of pop-like metal.

“THE MESSAGE” digs into these newer pop sounds, especially with Jacob’s soothing voice. In many songs, old and new, the driving bass line and machine gun-like drums would drown out the ‘smaller’ vocals. And mostly that’s fine, because many in the crowd were too focused on rapid head nodding or full on head banging.

“FEEL NOTHING” grinded along, with haunting lyrics, thumping bass and BJ’s rapid-fire drums, switching between fast and slow. It’s probably my favorite from the new album.

“Perfect Skin” punched us repeatedly in the sternum with a slow crushing wall of sound, that builds into a head banger as well.

After an impatient break, they came back for the encore and Jacob assured us ‘I know it’s hot, so we’ll keep it short’. But they didn’t have to. Really. We can live with hot.

Ryan George of Youth Code (who opened) joined them for the last hot song, a new single not on the album called “Innocence”, where he mumble screamed his portion of the lyrics. The show ended too quickly, and we had to be resigned to head home in order to listen to more of their music.

Get on board next time HEALTH crushes DC!

Setlist
Victim
Men Today
Die Slow
GOD BOTHERER
Zoothorns
PSYCHONAUT
New Coke
Tears
Salvia
Stonefist
L.A. Looks
THE MESSAGE
FEEL NOTHING
STRANGE DAYS
We Are Water
Perfect Skin
Crusher

Encore
Innocence (with Youth Code)

* If we were allowed to hang from the rafters at RnR, I’m sure there would be takers.

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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