Gorch Fock

One Eyed Jacks

June 03, 2006

Gorch Fock would be a great band if they got rid of their lead singer/trombonist. Joey Ficklin's vocal ability is mediocre at best and his lyrics are inane. That's when he is talking, which thankfully isn't all the time. Unfortunately, though, when he's not screaming about nothing in particular, he's playing trombone. Badly.

When not playing an extremely simple melody, Ficklin drowned out the rest of the band with his squalls of horn at One Eyed Jacks Saturday night. I'm used to hearing great trombone playing, so it's a let-down to see a musician play the instrument for the seeming novelty of it. It was like the trombone was there to show how avant or experimental the band was or how cool they were because they were using a trombone in a rock setting. Like, isn't that clever? No.

Ficklin wasn't even a good frontman. The lanky man dressed in a serviceman's outfit looked out of place amongst the other metalheads.

Austin's Gorch Fock were masters of controlled chaos. Their wall of sound was created by three guitarists, two drummers, a bassist, and Ficklin. They sounded like fans of Beefheart and the Butthole Surfers that wanted to see how loud and large of a sound they could get. For fun.

Gorch Fork's psychedelic freak-outs fueled with strobes were tempered with surgical exercises in prog-metal. The songs with a noticeable pop structure, albeit ones with monster metal riffs, were less effective than tunes wherein the sounds of the instruments weaved around one another. That's because Gorch Fork's hooks and vocals weren't really that interesting.

The music was most captivating when the guitars rapidly repeated chord progressions while the drums circled and meandered and the trombone just blew one long note.

The two drummers faced each other and never played the same thing. They complemented each other wonderfully. While one played as many notes as possible, the other focused on one drum or just kept a straight beat.

No doubt, this was antagonistic, angry music. Like some sort of mean party. There was nothing innocent about it. When I wasn't getting my ears blasted out and didn't feel like going on a rampage, which was rare, I enjoyed the concert. Because how often do you get to see three guitarists and two drummers go at it?

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