Live Review: Nigredo, My Empty Phantom & The Acorns

The Drunken Unicorn // Atlanta, GA // December 19

On the worst night Atlanta’s seen in years, a thousand-plus cars were sliding across ice, crashing into each other in series and parallel. Police shut down two interstate highways and several main thoroughfares. It wasn’t snowing, but the rain came down freezing upon impact. Atlanta had, in the course of a day, become a giant freezer. A night to stay home, right? Heed warnings to stay off the roads? Cuddle up under a blanket with a hot cocoa? No, not at all.

December 19th’s Performer sponsored show at The Drunken Unicorn featured Nigredo, My Empty Phantom and The Acorns. The Acorns opened the night with Ross Taylor on a minimal drum kit and Sghetti Head on vocals and acoustic guitar.  Sghetti started the Acorns’ set with “Totally Fucking Wasted” because, in his words, “Well, I’m pretty wasted, so I thought it was appropriate…” Then, after several oddly light-hearted songs on heavy subjects, Sghetti jumped off the stage for a raucous sing-along with a couple of dedicated fans who knew his lyrics better than he knew them himself.

Between The Acorns’ happy-go-lucky misery songs and Nigredo’s drone-metal apocalypse, My Empty Phantom (Jesse Beaman) set up all alone on stage between his keyboard and his drum kit. Beaman began each of his songs with the keyboard, laying down beautiful, ambient piano riffs that he then looped into a repeating, progressive melody. Then, turning away from the keyboard, he set into his drums.  If The Acorns’ set was a tribute to drinking away the cold and pain, then My Empty Phantom gave the audience a means to embrace the cold, feel it numb them from the inside, throbbing.

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Finally, Nigredo took the stage. With fifteen feet of pedals, including eight Moog pedals, these five men sounded like they were playing about fifty instruments. Outside it only seemed like the world was ending. Inside, thanks to this dark, heavy, droning, harsh music, it was certain. Two frostbitten thumbs up!

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