Sensory Overload: Kizzy Hall brings ragged, melodic rock to Spacebar
Kizzy Hall songs tend to be composed, if lovably rumpled, the local five-piece blasting through ragged, melodic rock 'n' roll jams whose lo-fi character can never quite obscure the craftsmanship at the music's core.
Beneath the surface, however, things tend to be far more chaotic. During a concert at Spacebar on a recent Thursday, singer John Herwig, at times, came on like a man struggling to hold on to his faculties. "I woke up with the night sweats," he offered at the onset of "Hang With You," a standout track off the band's debut full-length,A Touch of Kizz in the Night, from 2014.
Elsewhere, Herwig crooned, howled and deadpanned about falling through trap doors, hanging off of the edge and being plagued by multiplying cancerous cells. "Couldn't get away from myself," he repeated on one song, gradually building to an unhinged scream that momentarily made it sound as though he were attempting to make his escape by somehow leaping free of his body.
Between songs, the singer flashed a wry sense of humor - "This is a Sublime cover," he said introducing "Conscious Lies" (it's not) - though it tended to dissipate once the band roared to life. "I don't need your help/ I'm in total control," Herwig sang on "Conscious Lies," even as the music suggested otherwise, foaming and spitting like storm-whipped surf.
Musically, Kizzy has evolved into a force. Drummer Chelsea Simmons displayed power and finesse, driving the rowdier tunes and sitting back in the pocket on mellower turns like "Night Time Television," which was given a surf-tinged makeover here. And dual guitarists John Grinstead and Stefan Knuckles served as well-matched sparring partners throughout, alternating between terse, balled riffs and fuzzier, comparatively textured outcroppings.
In recent months, Kizzy Hall has played out relentlessly, though prior to taking the stage Herwig suggested the band might take some time off this summer (outside an already-scheduled appearance at June's Nelsonville Music Festival, of course) to wrap up mixing of its long-in-the-works second album, which he hopes will see the light of day by year's end. Judging solely by Kizzy's in-concert growth, I expect it to be a monster.