Fantasy Empire

Ok, so you see that Lightning Bolt is coming to the Bay Area to tour behind their first album in five years, Fantasy Empire. You see that they are playing two shows with Liturgy -- one in SF at The Chapel, one at Leo's in Oakland. For a few minutes you consider both shows, reviewing your work schedule and social life. Both shows are sold out, but in the end, if you ultimately score tickets for the second show, the one at that strange newish venue in Temescal, even though you may have never been there -- it may be the better show.

The two Brians of Lightning Bolt, who met at RISD in 1994, have repeatedly let the press and their fans know how weird it is to play their brand of art-school noise rock on a stage, elevated high above the crowd they wish to engage with -- which, I'm imagining, is just how the show at The Chapel will proceed. The duo has acknowledged that being placed on a stage is an inevitable side effect of gaining popularity and don't dismiss it as something somehow less worthy. But their roots are in sweaty, post-final-critique college parties and now-defunct DIY spaces, where floor shows are not only the norm, but a necessary element to their performance that fosters engagement, community, and optimal audio and physical exposure. And that's something that the show at the bare-bones venue Leo's will provide.

Now, I don't think the show at The Chapel is going to suck. No way. I also don't think that by forgoing the show at Leo's for the one at The Chapel you will miss a life changing experience. Either way, you might get to see Lightning Bolt, one of the premier noise bands to come out of the last 20 years or so, the champions of creating a whole lot of something out of not very much, and probably the loudest two-piece out there. But if, somehow, you still have the chance to decide which of these two shows are you attending, choose wisely. Because who knows when they'll be back here again.

Lightning Bolt
The Chapel
May 1, 2015
9:00pm, $15 (SOLD OUT)

Lightning Bolt
Leo's Music Club
May 2, 2015
9:00pm, $15 (SOLD OUT)

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