Metallica, Barry Bonds, and 'Alternountrock'

Wolves in the Throne Room

As bands go, Wolves in the Throne Room is damn heavy. Sure, that’s coming from the kid who listens to Miles Davis — but trust me, I had my Metallica and Megadeth phase before my jazz one. Wolves in the Throne Room hails from Olympia, Wash., and is defined by pure, unadulterated energy. The group consists of three brothers: singer-guitarist Rick, Nathan on guitar, and Aaron Dahlin on drums. The family ties come out in the music; thick, blasting guitar parts dig in just as hard as the drums. The vocals are just as ferocious as the bass line. It’s Metallica with Barry Bonds’s suspicious activity, you could say.

But Wolves isn’t all about thrashing. Beneath the atmosphere of distorted guitars is a warm chord progression that sounds like the rainbow after a thunderstorm. It’s the “pretty aggression” philosophy that Rancid and Bad Religion live by.

Catch Wolves in the Throne Room in Porter Hall 100 Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. With openers Tusk Lord and Abysme, this is undoubtedly going to be, well, a unique show. Tickets are $3 with a CMU ID, $5 without.


If Tower Records still existed, you’d be hard put to find Wilco in any particular section. You couldn’t call the band “Alternative” (especially not “Alternative & Punk,” like your iTunes might call it); its 2001 release, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot features African percussion and fuzzy synthesizers creeping in and out of verses and hooks. You couldn’t call Wilco country, either; the band’s 2004 album A Ghost Is Born has melodies that are too frequently in minor keys, lyrics too abstract and poetic. Wilco’s latest album Sky Blue Sky might trick you into thinking the band’s a straight-up rock group; the grooves are thumpy and downbeat-heavy, featuring harmless lyrics like, “I should be satisfied/I survived/That’s good enough for now.”

But really Wilco is none of those, and calling the band “Alternountrock” would be lazy. Wilco has created its own path and — more impressively — has continued to change sounds throughout its career.

What’s remained pretty steady, however, is Wilco’s fabulously energetic live show. And even though lead singer-guitarist Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt are the only remaining members of this Chicago-based sextet, it feels like the group has been playing together for ages.

Wilco performs Friday, Oct. 19 at the AJ Palumbo Center at Duquesne University. Doors open at 8 p.m. Call 412.323.1919 for tickets, priced at $30.50.