The Holy Mountain (presumably named after the surrealist epic) is an "art space" next to The Victory Lounge along Eastlake, and it fucking rocks. To start, colorful robots and wacko geometry adorn the walls, giving the whole space a carnival atmosphere. It's a very relaxed space; you can smoke, and tallies of PBR can be had for a mere $2. The atmosphere is great for hanging out, but don't expect the bands to play any earlier than eleven o'clock, because the scheduling is also relaxed.
Past Lives, last Friday's headliner, took the stage well after midnight. However, the crowd had only grown in size, and through the band's entire set the energy level was set to maximum. Being on ground level riled up the audience, and the band is secure in their arrangements now the post-Blood Brothers project has had a year of incubation on small clubs and houses up and down the west coast.

While the songs may not have as many of the schizophrenic changes that typified the member's earlier projects, there is a cohesiveness that allows them to constantly gain momentum. Instead of relying on adolescent angst, existential dread lends a maturity to the haunting post-punk, leaving the listener wishing these guys would release a full length.

The other standout act of the night were White Circle Crime Club, a group based in Belgium.. Twisting keyboard lines and aggressive drums lent energy and sophistication to their performance; they played only four songs, but the set went on for about half an hour, and even more remarkably, it managed to be sustain a manic, punk intensity that didn't let up for the entirety of their sprawling arrangements, displaying a very European dedication to craftsmanship.

The first band of the night unlike some openers you find at The Holy Mountain,, they were obviously well-rehearsed, and since they were an instrumental band, they were able to swell to volumes that would drown out the venue's sickly vocal PA. However, Seattle's own Joy Wants Eternity quickly fell into the stylistic pitfalls of their obvious influence, Explosions in the Sky. I was left thinking this was a band that was organized and had potential, but had yet to establish a voice of their own.

Arms and Sleepers went on third, and unfortunately they seemed to irk the crowd more than anything else. Before playing, they mentioned being from Boston, and I heard an annoying scene girl shout 'Assachusetts!' She also asked me to hold up her feet for her, but that's a story for another time....

The three-piece' live show consisted of laptop-based IDM, with a drummer and bassist essentially just playing along to the syncopated beats, looking bored or moving to melodica and synth when their instruments weren't required. To make up for the lacking stage presence, a projector ran a film student's wet dream on a large bed sheet taped onto the wall. However, only images with heavy black and white contrast were visible thanks to the ambient light in the room. I was left thinking they might be better experienced with a good set of headphones and a big screen TV.

That being said, this was a wonderful show, a rare opportunity to see a diverse line-up play together. The Holy Mountain seems committed to bringing acts from all over and even outside the country, and if you don't mind staying up until two in the morning you might catch the Next Big Thing flying in under the pop-culture radar.

A little bit about me: I am the tall guy who stands at the very front of the crowd and flips the fuck out. Perhaps you resent me, or admire me, or maybe you have no strong feelings on the subject one way or another. Either way, it's time you find out my opinion about music.

- written by Jon Stefan, photos by Dan Ahrendt
 


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